McADENVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – “It’s just so happy, so you have a month-long of just… happiness.”
It’s just a garage, but for Stan McDowell, it holds all the treasures he can’t wait to share.
“I can’t wait until it starts, and I don’t want it to end,” said Stan.
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All over his house and lawn, it’s red and green.
Angels and reindeer.
Santa and his sleigh.
“When you walk out that front door there, it’s like you’re in this wonderland,” said Stan.
Wonderland — in Christmas Town. Stan’s yard has become a must-see stop during Dec. in McAdenville.
“Twice now, we’ve had proposals in the sleigh,” said Stan.
But there’s one decoration that stays up all year long.
“When I first put it up, it was 13 years ago; it’s been up ever since,” said Stan.
The Christmas tree has been in the corner of his living room since 2009.
“[In 2009] He deployed to Afghanistan. That was in May, and in July, his plane went down,” remembered Stan.
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That was the first year Stan and his wife, Karen, moved to McAdenville. It was also the year they lost their son, Airforce Captain Mark McDowell.
“The next morning, I wake up, look outside, and the streets are lined with American flags, both sides, over 500 flags. And there was a basket on my front step with cards, and that was the next day,” remembered Stan, tearing up.
It’s not been easy for Stan.
“I kind of withdrew, and it was like I don’t want to have anything to do with anything,” said Stan.
He and Karen were married for 24 years before she passed away.
“Uh, she passed away three years ago,” said Stan.
Though it takes over a month to get everything done, he said, it’s his way of reminding others of the lesson he learned.
“You don’t realize how precious moments are. Until they become memories, so I try to live by that,” said Stan.
So it’s on his front lawn or in the sleigh where countless people get a moment to treasure where they are and who they’re with.