Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree at home was always one Daddy bought at the grocery store. It was usually 4 or 5 feet tall, well, maybe 6. He would come home from work with it on Momma's instructions, I'm sure. He would put a base on it with wood strips and set it up to satisfy her sense of balance in front of the living room window.

She loved to decorate and make it better than the year before. In those days decorations were simpler than they are now and the ornaments were delicate and treasured since we used them for years. The really nice ones were fragile and I was heart-broken if I broke one. The tree was usually put up no more than two weeks before Christmas because it would begin to shed when it got dry.

For Christmas morning we always went to Auntie's house. She was Momma's step-mother. My Aunt Tom and Uncle Jimmie lived with her. They were Mama's sister and brother and neither one of them ever married. It made a nice group of family members to exchange gifts and tell stories and cook for. On Christmas Day other family members sometimes joined us. I always wanted my cousin Ann to come. I loved her mother and she had sisters to add to the fun.

One year my Uncle Ed and his wife Ana were there with my cousin Eddie. Auntie and Tom took the tree out as soon as we opened the gifts and Eddie cried and cried. The year I was nine is the last one I remember. It's the last one before Momma died. It was special. It's the  last one before I gave up my belief in Santa. Mama shared the secret with me so I wouldn't tell Eddie, but the gift Santa gave me was a frying pan I wanted so I could cook eggs. I'm sure everybody else wondered why I got a frying pan from Santa, but it remains a memory I value, a secret she and I shared.

If you like Christmas stories, this is another one I value.

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