I meant to save the Christmas tree until Leisa got home from visiting Mississippi just after the New Year, but on December 31 when I heard that trash collection vehicle on the next street over, and I witnessed the needles falling like rain (really, really dry rain) every time someone went near it and sometimes when no one was even close by, I went into undecorating overdrive and had that thing by the curb before the truck could get within sight. Our dreams about our glorious little tree still intact and the reality of its desiccation not yet entrenched in our minds.
So what was good about our tree?
1. That we had one. I’d intended to do without since no kids would be in our home on Christmas eve or day or even the week surrounding.
2. The price. Late in the season tree about 8.5′ tall for $15 at Wal-Mart. Wonderful shape and fullness.
3. Confirmation of friendship. Upon hearing my pitiful tale of a tree too big, a friend came by with a 6-pack of saws (always have the right tool) to help us bring it down to size while also creating a bonus pine-scented yule log. Thank you, Erik. And, yes, husband Jon helped, too, that’s his maroon-sleeved arm holding a branch.
Now about that Yule Log (point 3 above). I read this very spiritual sounding post on one of the true authorities, either Facebook or Pinterest, that suggested taking a Yule log, having everyone in attendance scratch or write a wish upon its bark and setting it ablaze with our aspirations reaching up to heaven with the smoke. Perfect. Until I was bringing the small log about the size of a quart of egg nog (we didn’t need an enormous space to log our wishes, we are already a very blessed family) to Christmas and someone whose heart hadn’t quite “grown three sizes that day” (if you get my reference) said “That’s pine; I wouldn’t burn that in my fireplace” and everyone concurred that my wish conveyance stump was the pariah of Christmas present.
4. Marital bliss. It made my husband happy.
5. Memories. It was the impetus for my favorite holiday memory this year. Jon discovered the voice recording Christmas ornaments I bought for him, hid, and couldn’t find. The intent being to record each of his kids and grandkids as they visited. Well that never happened so instead Leisa, Jon, and I proved we are a competitive family with our vicious contesting of personally edited 15-second versions of holy songs. I think my acting training made mine shine, sounding most professional and I was able to convey simple earnestness and awe like nobody’s business, while simultaneously evoking jubilation. Jon was loud with a less than nuanced performance, Leisa naïve in her jazz interpretation. Jazz thinks it’s cleverer than all other music and that just isn’t the Christmas spirit for me (or anything really, I don’t like jazz and cannot be converted, people have tried for decades.)
As the mandatory tree-in-the-house season petered out, my sister told me that goat farmers like to give discarded Christmas trees to their goats, and I like goats and recycling so that seemed like a pretty good idea. But I couldn’t think of a close-by goat farmer especially one who might actually pick up the tree to keep needles out of my car.
What I’d really love is for my dear city of Haverhill to host a giant annual Christmas tree bonfire for the community – that would be cool in a hot sort of way. But this year’s tree was long gone before I could work out the details.
Instead our hard-working sanitation employees got to enjoy our evergreen-scented greeting that perhaps eclipsed the rest of the refuse in the truck for at least a little while thereby extending the admiration for the tree that served us all well.
Best wishes to each for the New Year of your dreams!
(c)2015 by Alison Colby-Campbell