Some prefer artificial trees
while others insist on a live tree.
Although I like the convenience of our artificial tree
I miss having a real tree. Why just the smell of the freshly cut pine
brings back memories of long ago
when we brought home
the tallest tree.
We knew it as soon as we saw it standing there in the field.
Magnificent and green.
and almost majestic looking.
“That one,” we both said at once.
My Dad looked it over.
“Hmm, it’s a nice one. Tall, though. I’m not sure that it will fit.”
“Oh, it will work,” we insisted. We had to have that tree.
So the tree was cut down
and tied to the top of our car.
All the way home as we drove the snow covered roads
I imagined what that tree would look like.
It was the perfect tree
for the perfect Christmas.
I watched as my brother and Dad carried that tree
in the front door
and carefully set it up in the foyer of our home
by the winding staircase.
It was tall.
Taller then tall
needing to have a few inches cut off the top
just to fit.
Everyone got into the fun.
Colored lights and balls of various sizes and shapes.
Yes, I saw that tree be transformed before our eyes.
Excitement blended with weariness as we continued to work that afternoon.
My brother and I were left to finish putting tinsel on the tree.
I remember taking some tinsel
and placing one strand at a time on each branch
as I had been told.
This is going to take forever, I thought to myself.
So when no one was looking I’d grab a clump
and throw it on the tree.
A little here
A little there. I didn’t think anyone would notice.
When we finished the job we called in our parents
to look at the fully decorated tree.
All I saw was beautiful lights and decorations.
“What’s this?” I heard and I noticed my mother looking at the tree carefully.
She reached and grabbed off a clump of tinsel
and then turned and met my eyes.
My heart sank.
And I began to quickly remove those clumps
that I now saw all over the tree.
Saving time didn’t work.
The job had to be done right.
Funny, how I remember that years,
many years later.
One strand of tinsel at a time.
Yes, that was how it was to be put on.
And though today
in our fast paced society
we don’t usually use tinsel
I remember those days fondly
and cherish the lessons that I learned.
Stringing popcorn and cranberries.
Making paper chains of red and green.
Fragrant smells of pine and oranges.
All mixed together to make a child’s memories of Christmas
ones that warm brighten my life today.