The Christmas of Three Trees:
Why we decided to have so many trees that Christmas, I don't know. No matter, we ended up with one scrawny tree.
The first tree, our usual fiber optic artificial, we loaded with glittery Christmas balls of blue, green, red, white and any color we liked. The bright filaments of light reflected color throughout the living room.
In one corner of the dining room, we put up a five-foot pine, which we decorated in the traditional way with a star on top. Homemade decorations from generations filled it from top to bottom.
The final tree would remind you of a Charlie Brown scrawny, little, crooked tree. We decorated with what lights it would hold and still stand. I filled it with oodles of plastic candy canes and stapled the top to the wall to keep it standing. A paper angel with glitter hid the afixed top of the evergreen. I did forget to mention we cut it from a sappling in my parents pasture.
We'd developed a tradition of stockings and sometimes the stuffers didn't fit inside. That year everyone brought enough stockings for each of their family. It meant a break in tradition for we generally only did the single set plus one family filled mine and one my husband's. Everyone arrived and remarked how cheerful the house looked. They laid their stockings under the big tree and threw their coats on the bed.
As the eighteen members filled our small home, the smells of turkey, ham, apple and cherry pies, and ofcourse, the usual pumpkin filled the house.
I heard the first yell. "Get in here and get these stockings moved. The tree is shorting out and one just scorched." My husband demanded sternly.
The rush to the tree almost knocked it over as the man of the home struggled to unplug it. Christmas balls fell on the floor and shattered. My fear of broken glass filled me with anxiety and I screamed at all the children to stay away from it. After only twenty minutes, which seemed like an hour, the whole mess was gone. All stockings and gifts moved to the pine tree full of homemade ornaments.
"Help," my daughter called.
"What now?" I asked through my frustration at the interruption.
"Needles are falling all over the floor. The tree is bare."
Another tree undecorated and sent out the door with only a scrawny, little, sappling left. The homemade ornaments taped to the wall around it to make it appear larger. Tinselled and filled with light from the colorwheel now removed from the original saved the poor, final cedar from extinguishing our celebration. Not one guest complained. The event became like a game. The table for the feast glowed with candles and reflections off the tinselled little gift.
A poster sized picture now overtakes that spot from the place of the stapled angel to the top of a little table that's never moved since.
This story is a result of a vivid dream I had last night. I had to share it. 12/11/15
G. K. Fralin