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The Season

The little tree is up, lights twinkling.  Every year, as I put it up, I have mixed feelings...

It is such a homely little thing; all scraggly branches that are squashed and pitiful when I first pull it out of the box.  The little old tree looks just about as bedraggled as I feel as I stumble along toward the holiday season.

The transition from pathetic little fake evergreen to sparkly, quirky display of well remembered bits and pieces happens slowly -- so slowly that I hardly notice it at first.  I got new lights this year.  The old motley collection of various kinds of twinkly lights had really seen better days, and it was time.  I actually decided that last year when I took it down and put it all away.  I tossed out the old lights, promising myself that I'd get new ones for this season.  Of course, by the time I was ready to go this year, I had totally forgotten that.  I got the tree out and all the branches on it and sort of fluffed up.  Then I pulled out my boxes, and started hunting for the lights...  Hunting and hunting and hunting...  What the heck????

Yeah. Slow on the pick up.  I have CRS (Can't Remember Shit).

So.  The naked, pitiful tree sat there, on its little table for a couple of days until I could get out and buy some lights (because I REFUSE to enter into the Thanksgiving Day / Black Friday Shopping craziness).  With its bright new lights, that sort of look like the old-fashioned lights I remember from my childhood, the little tree was ready for decorations.

My ornament collection is "eclectic," to put it kindly.  There are ornaments that I painted by hand as a child.  There are cookie-dough ornaments that I made and painted with my own small children one year long ago when we had no money at all, and nearly everything was made by hand.  They are all dated and signed on the back; humble, sweet, silly little lumps of memory.  There are bright yellow and orange yarn pom poms that I made with my college roommate when we were both freshmen.  Living in a dismal old dormatory that had been converted from and old, old, old fraternity house, we were determined to have a Christmas tree that year.  We pooled our money and bought a long, skinny, very tall, but very sparse pine tree.  We hauled it back and propped it up in a bucket full of rocks.  We decorated it with those silly little, handmade yellow and orange yarn fluffs, and then strung popcorn and cranberries to make garlands to string on it.  It was a sight, but we loved it anyway.  Years later, long after I was married and working to raise my little ones; long after she'd gone on to become a wealthy engineer married to another wealthy engineer, A small package came to my door.  Inside were those same old silly decorations with a note:  "How many memories come tied with orange and yellow yarn?"  There are the shiny, gold, abstract angels; each with some sort of unidentifiable musical instruments.  They are tiny; only an inch and a half tall.  I have half a dozen of them; all different.  They were given to me by my brother, Gregg, who somehow thought that they were "queer."  "Just like me," he told me with a mischievous wink.  Gregg's angels fly proudly around my tree each year, and every year I keep the promise I made him as he lay dying -- "I will never forget you..."  And so many little oddities that have come, over the years from students.  I hang them all and remember Katie and Jacob and Samuel and Tim and Barby and Shelly and ...  So many young lives that have touched me along the way.

So the season has begun and, even better, today was a snow day.  No school.  We are home, tucked in warm and safe, with the cats and the trees -- watching the snow fall outside our windows.

Wishing you all the best of the season, Friends.


  1. what lovely memories sue :) and a cute lil tree ............ made me think perhaps next year I should get a small wee tree like that for our home (instead of the big hunk of one I dragged here from Montreal)

  2. LOL at CRS. Sometimes i get that too! I think when a tree has a bunch of meaningful ornaments, it makes it even more beautiful!

  3. Pretty. I love the decorations with memories. Thanks for sharing.


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