Sunday Gratitude – Memory by Fire Truck, Sand Dollar and Owl
It’s the time of year that reveals a surprising amount of personal information about people and their lives. No need to call Norton Security or the Weston Police, but you might want to think about your Christmas tree. I think about mine a lot.
As days go by after Thanksgiving, my Facebook page fills with photos from friends of their trees–tall and elegant with beautiful green, blue, or red glass ornaments, ribbons, matching ornaments, some natural pines with accompanying imperfections of asymmetry, some artificial trees so realistic now, but pure giveaways in their perfect pyramidal glory. Some choose colored lights and some white–angels or stars at the top. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Tannenbaum with real candle holders–when I grew up (yes, Owlets, in the 1800s), a couple of family friends still had candles on their trees, living dangerously.
Every one of these trees is beautiful in its bright hopefulness and I love to see people’s personalities come out in the trees. But to be perfectly honest, I love the mismatched trees the best. The ones with kids’ toddler projects hidden at the back of the tree, the ones with a mix of stuffies, and ceramic and wood. And of course, it is into this group that the Owl falls–after a year off from Christmas (we escaped to tropical Brazil for three weeks last Christmas)–and today is the day that the memories and laughs and decorating begin.
A few years ago, my mom started sending me ornaments from the family tree–old faded fabric ones with tasseled accessories, a mix of wooden ornaments that my parents would get every year from friends with whom we spent every Christmas, and some of the decorations that I most loved as a child. A peacock with its sparkles missing, tiny Peruvian flute players, some sand dollars that my mom had painstakingly bleached and threaded with hangers. Some were ornaments I had sent my parents over the years–when I was starting out in my early 20s, tight funds meant ornaments were Christmas presents.
Some make me laugh. My brother’s old plaster-of-Paris snake grins kookily in green and red–no photo yet as it is still buried somewhere in the hundreds of ornaments. A metal fire truck reminds me of when my dad worked for a fire truck company and was quoted about the possibility of plastic fire trucks melting in parking lots. A chubby stuffed lobster from our first Christmas in Weston–a month away from Snowmageddon, how little we knew about the 110 inches to come.
Some ornaments live on borrowed time–a reindeer missing one antler, painted with our family name (yes, a gift from the friends of holidays past) can be carefully hung facing the unhurt side out. When it loses the other antler, he will be retired to the box of broken ornaments. There is no return from there–while I always think I will get to a glue gun and parts recovery, I never do.
Do I remember the history of each one? I don’t. I wish I did. Some I do remember buying in small batches when I had none. Some get hung at the back, not special enough to hang upfront, but special enough to avoid the box of broken ornaments. It takes hours for me to hang up each precious one–less to take them down in January, hopefully, accompanied by Owl Mom. Grand Owl? Yes, better.
My Sunday Gratitude: memories of Christmas past, and hope for Christmas future, all hung up on balsam fir.