I sit staring at a naked Christmas tree. I waited to undress the tree until Fiddledaddy had an opportunity to whisk the girls away for an afternoon, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the tears and general grieving.
Jensen who is now sporting a massive head cold, stayed home with me. He was typically nonplussed by the whole things. Only a handful of “gee, I’m going to miss that tree” came from his lips. He isn’t prone to hanging on to each and every ornament, caressing it as if it will never be viewed by human eyes again. Wiping away bitter tears of Christmas longing. Followed by repeated stanzas of CAN’T WE JUST KEEP IT UP A LITTLE LONGER?
NO, it competes with my Easter décor.
I actually didn’t mind taking the tree down alone. It gave the OCD side of me time to wrap, color code, and generally file each ornament where it belonged. According to breakability and sentimentality.
Christmas was a special childhood time of year when I was growing up in Ohio. We had a large living room, which we were only allowed in at Christmas time. Because my mother absolutely hated raking the shag carpeting. Each year, she painstakingly picked out the biggest and most beautiful Christmas tree she could talk my dad into dragging home. And invariably, he would have to haul out the hacksaw to trim a foot or three off of the bottom.
In my adulthood, I attempted to carry out the tradition of putting up the largest tree I could find afford and still fit into my tiny apartment(s). The first Christmas that I spent in Los Angeles was marred when I had scrapped together my last $20 to buy a tree. I shoved it into the back of my Honda CRX hatchback and rode home with the hatch open. A police officer pulled me over and issued a $75 ticket for driving with out of state plates. I had neglected to change out my Texas plates, and when I tried to talk my way out of that one, he pointed his bony finger at my Christmas tree hanging out of the back of my car and used it as evidence against me that I really did live in California. And not Texas. Merry Christmas.
I tried again the next year to have a real tree, but while decorating, I poked myself in the eye with a tree needle, and ended up getting an infection that nearly cost me my sight.
That’s the last year I ever had a real Christmas tree.
In fact, I didn’t put up a tree again for many years. I hung onto grudges. It wasn’t a pretty trait.
After Fiddledaddy and I got hitched and moved to Florida, I told him of my reluctance to aid in the murder of a real tree. And my fear of them. He started to talk to me about the merits of an artificial tree.
ARTIFICIAL TREE. No way. I’d rather have to tree at all.
Then, just before Christmas, we happened upon a garage sale. I saw a most gorgeous Christmas tree all set up on the lawn. A naked tree. An artificial tree. I had never seen an artificial tree that looked SO REAL. It carried with it a $50 price tag. Fiddledaddy talked them into letting us have it for $40. Normally I would never pay $40 for anything at a garage sale, but it was so pretty. SO LIFELIKE. And I was sure it wouldn’t try to blind me.
Twelve years later, that $40 tree is the naked tree that I sit staring at with tear filled eyes. It has served this family well, and is still the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen.
Maybe we’ll leave it up just a few weeks more. I think it just might look beautiful adorned with hearts for Valentines Day.