Mystery Decorator Adorns Roadside Trees

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

By WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press Writer



Deck the Parkway? Someone is hanging Christmas ornaments with care, not by the chimney but on trees along the Garden State Parkway.

It started before Thanksgiving with two glass ornaments _ a shiny red ball about the size of a cantaloupe and a smaller red oblong with gold glitter swirls _ tied to branches of two large pines.

They were easily visible to motorists blasting down the southbound lanes on a stretch of highway in the Pinelands where there are no nearby houses.

Then more decorations popped up. One week it was a glitter-enhanced green ball the same size as the original red one. Next came a smaller gourd-shaped ornament with red and gold glitter.

After that, a smaller red ball with white glitter snowflakes appeared.

This Monday, a large silver bell appeared on a tree on the other side of the road. On Tuesday, it was a burgundy apple-shaped ornament about the size of a medium pumpkin.

"Somebody has a lot of holiday spirit, which is great, but a lot of spare time at night, which is not so great," said Joseph Orlando, a spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which operates the parkway.

There are no notes or any other indications of who is responsible for the roadside ornaments.

"It's a mystery to us," said State Police Capt. Al Della Fave.

Orlando wondered if the phantom decorator could be some frustrated husband whose wife won't let him cover the house with any more lights or ornaments.

"This is probably some guy whose wife finally said `Enough!'" he said.

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