Fountain family creates neighbor's name in lights
Last updated 12/21/2021 at 3:58pm | View PDF
For years, one Fountain couple joked about putting a special message in their Christmas lights for a certain neighbor to see, this year, they made it happen.
Looking carefully from the area of Ohio Avenue and Jimmy Camp, one can make out the words "Hi Cathy" on a rooftop facing southeast.
The decorations belong to Marty and Jennifer Steckiel, 516 Fountain Mesa Road, whose home is known for its holiday lights and blow-up decorations every year. Passersby may recognize the house, which often has a Code 3 Electric vehicle parked out front. Code 3 Electric is the Steckiels' company.
"Cathy" is Cathy Minjarez, who with husband Manny and other family members live just a hop, skip and a jump away on Delaware Avenue. Cathy, who recently retired after years as a daycare provider, cared for the Steckiels' children.
"I had their two girls from birth 'til I retired 15 months ago," Cathy said. "The girls are 10 and 12 now. They – we - are family now."
In Jennifer's own words, this is how the "Hi Cathy" lights came about:
"Every year we try to do Christmas lights on our house, and every year we seem to add more (except this year, lol). We have been known as the Griswolds of Fountain. Our children used to go to Cathy for daycare, and the Minjarez family became family to us; our girls call her Grandma Cathy and Papa Manny. Since our house sits on a hill, it can be seen very clearly from Cathy's house. She always told us how they would look up at the house everyday and see all the lights (and that was just the back of the house!). We always joked about putting a message on the roof, or back of the house, for them. This year, while putting the big 'X' on the roof, for Santa to know where to land, Marty decided we should put 'Hi Cathy' on the backside. He spent some time inside putting the strings of lights together to make the 5-foot letters, then put them on the roof. We weren't sure if it was going to work, but he went for it anyways.
"We are very big on Christmas movies, and helping others, and we thought this might be one of those gifts that means more than a package. As the Grinch (Dr. Seuss) once said, 'It came without ribbons, it came without tags, it came without packages, boxes or bags... Maybe Christmas (he thought) doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.' And as Frank Cross (Bill Murray, "Scrooged") said, "It's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, ... we smile a little easier, ...we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be."
"It's not about handing a present to Cathy and getting a thank-you. It's about doing something that we know will make her happy, even when we don't see her response. It is something she can look at every night, and know how much she is loved; not just by us, but by every heart and soul that she has touched."