Hard to believe Christmas is just one short week away….again. Where does time go?
We spent Thanksgiving with close friends and talked about the past year a little. We agreed the elections took a toll on everyone regardless who you were pulling for. The economy is still giving a lot of people a tough time. We’ve seen natural and human disasters. Our friends had unexpectedly lost a brother/uncle and I a good friend at the youthful age of 50 back in February.
But then, we all looked around smiled. We were all together, one of their daughters had just bought a new home, another daughter is doing great in college, we all had our health, my 95 (almost 96) year old dad is living at home and doing great. It was one of those days when you had to put things in perspective and realize this is the way things are. You have to take the good with the bad cause that’s the way it is and that’s not always easy.
The point was really driven home yesterday when I got an email from my sister. Her 5 year old grandson (my great nephew) had just called her to tell her what was going on at his house. It seems his younger brother had got to fooling with the Christmas tree and had broken (in his words) ‘..75 or 12 glass decorations…’ including his favorite. He went on to warn grandma she’d better put up her decorations and nativity scene if she didn’t want them to get broken when they came to her house. When my sister asked him how he felt about his favorite ornament getting broken, he told her…‘you can’t let it get you down, you just have to let it go’. Absolutely the words came from his mother, but you just want to hug that little boy and hope he never forgets that.
So in a few days, we’re gonna get to spend some time with a few family members. Have some dinner with my dad, father-in-law and a small group of family. I, my wife and our dads will probably take a ride around the neighborhood Christmas Eve and check out the lights. Talk about the town and how it’s changed in the last 50 or 60 years. No doubt spend a good amount of time talking about Christmas back in the 20’s and 30’s and more recent. Those ‘old’ Christmas memories are so much fun to relive.
One of those memories that comes to mind was the challenge my dad always took on when it came to finding the right tree. We lived in a pretty rural area and there weren’t any organized tree sellers. So, you always had a couple of local farmers with evergreen windbreaks and an assortment of small, medium and enormous trees. Dad leaned towards the larger trees and the shape had to be just right. This typically meant most of a Saturday following Thanksgiving visiting a number of farms in search of that perfect tree.
Mom and Dad had just built a family room addition onto the house so Dad figured there was plenty of room for a huge tree. And he found one. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that tree had to cover an area no less than 12′ in diameter at the base. The outstanding feature was that the tree was shaped perfectly with no holes in the branches, etc. Perfect symmetry from top to bottom. But there was one problem. The ceiling was just 8 feet and a tree that big at the bottom is well over 8 feet tall. Now, being a man, the obvious solution was NOT to cut that perfectly shaped base….so what’s the natural thing to do?……you cut the top. Dad cut the top three feet off that tree so it ended up looking like it was growing right up through the ceiling. Rarely, and I do mean rarely did my parents exchange a sharp word in front of us kids but mom made an exception that time.
The discussion ranged from questioning dad’s…..’sensibilities’…. to sending him out to buy another tree. Dad finally won out and in spite of the Angel kinda sitting on the side of the tree next to the ceiling, it was probably one of the prettiest trees we ever had. Even mom relented somewhat and agreed the bottom half of the tree was quite pretty. More importantly, it was THE tree we all remembered and was the source of more laughs about a Christmas than any other memory. Thinking back on it, I have a feeling my mother probably said to herself, ‘…you can’t let it get you down, you just have to let it go’.
I wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas!!!