Thursday, December 20, 2012

Putting Up a Christmas Tree

 We moved into the big white house on the hill in 1964. I was three, my dad forty three. He always loved this house since he was a little boy. He threw himself into the decorations for the big holiday.
We drove out State Route 318 to the tree farm on the way to Mercer. The heavy snow on the ground as we trek through the silent pine trees looking for the biggest one. Finally, Dad found one, sawed it down, paid the owner and tied it to the top of the big old sixties car. I don't know what kind. Sorry, I was three and a half.
How Dad dragged this huge tree through the front door, I can't remember. The tree was so heavy, he used wires to secure it to the wall, so it would stand.

We used a black step stool and ladders to decorate it. The ornaments packaged in a colorful box, that made me think we had donuts. Long turquoise blue bulbs felt so delicate. The lights, the hot kind that you didn't dare leave on if you left the house, strings and strings of them, Dad tested before he strung them around the tree.
We strung popcorn for to drape around the tree. The old silver tinsel, so strong and thick completed the body of the tree. On top was the star, that the one year I wanted on my tree  at home, that Katie did not want. She wanted the angel I bought in Connecticut. We battled over our childhood memories. I ended up using the star  only one year.
Not many presents rested under the tree before Christmas. Mom left mine unwrapped, because they came from Santa. I remember one morning sneaking down stairs to peek at what Santa brought me, I believe in first grade. I ran upstairs to recite all I got to my sleeping parents. I even had a watch that I believe the time showed seven. I, of course, had no idea they had probably just returned to bed after putting the huge turkey in the oven at six in the morning. I couldn't fathom their lack of enthusiasm or surprise. Surely, I still believed in Santa and thought they didn't know what was under that tree.

Through the years the trees shrunk in size to a table top tree. But the last year, my father dragged out all the Christmas decorations that hadn't seen the light of day for years. He did not have the huge tree that reached the thirteen foot ceiling and covered half the living room, but the poinsettias in the curving railing, the lights, the wreaths in the windows, the figurines, all the trappings beautified his loved home. Even though, he had a plan of living, it seemed he knew he would be dead in less than two months.
One of the adjustments of married life proved to be my husband did not share the love of decorating the house at Christmas or getting a Christmas tree. We tried many ways, but with the result of almost bursting into tears. Christmas holds so many memories, emotions and ideal of perfection. Learning the real reason of celebrating has helped with the feelings of disappointment that sometimes I can't have a tree take up half my living room that would still pale in comparison to the one on Main Street.
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