I first spied Dirk R'Kingsley on a small roof above his doorway wrestling with yard lights that had gone dark. In their dead state, I could still make out the words "Happy Halloween."
When running into Dirk around town or as he emceed the city's annual Labor Day parades, I've seen a man who was laid back and humorous. But Dirk metamorphosized before my eyes Wednesday night under the red glow of Halloween lights.
He was anything but laid back, taking on the fire of a man who was going to light up his home or die. If he had his way, it would look like day there, he said. But he explained that he tones it down for the sake of his wife, Misha, who happened to be out of town while he was on his holiday mission.
Dirk took off to the maple tree in his yard after getting his "Happy Halloween," lights to work. He had a little help from your Patch editor, who injected herself in the story, ahem, and thus could no longer write an article on it—voila, the blog.
The inspiration for all the lights and magic come from Dirk's childhood, where the sight of a yard full of Halloween or Christmas lights would flood him with excitement. He said he still remembers what that felt like, so he does it for the kids and the folks, like him, who are nostalgic.
Dirk's intensity was like a spell sucking me into his Halloween web. I don't know how he did it. But once I heard his spin about doing it for the kids—I found myself scaling a ladder to help him make a line of lights across said tree, the cold October wind blasting into me all the while.
He didn't seem to notice the chill, all he saw were lights and thrill. Dirk's work soon payed off, and he appeared re-energized when a car stopped in front of his house so its passengers could admire the display.
Dirk's and Misha's home is the only one with lights in their Hillside Road cluster, but he hopes it doesn't stay that way. He said if the whole town outdid him, he wouldn't feel bad about; in fact, he would love it.
Imagining Greenbelt lit up for Halloween thrilled him. If his was the least decorated home in town, he said, "that would be fantastic."
The gauntlet has been thrown down, Greenbelters. Will you answer the call?
And if you have some Halloween photos you want to share, feel free to upload them here, I'm pretty sure Dirk won't mind sharing the spotlight. Actually, I think he'd love it.