My daughter was thrilled to share pictures and stories with me about putting up her Christmas tree with her boyfriend this year. Last year it magically appeared when she was under the effects of percoset, after ACL reconstruction surgery, due to a basketball injury. At first sight, I'm sure she thought seeing the tree was a side effect of the medication, but Santa or perhaps an angel (Mum) had decorated as she snoozed the pain away. A lighted Christmas tree brings more than presents underneath. It's presence signifies hope. A light in the dark of winter. The promise of good things to come.
Planting a live tree after the holidays extends the memories and creates a visible reminder of special times. I think my dad's penchant for planting live trees was more ecological than philosophical, but either way it was a tradition I truly enjoyed. I tend to believe that, for my younger sister, it has never been a warm fuzzy memory.
You see, the story of my sister finding the hole in the ground, that I alluded to in another blog, was meant for one of Dad's blue spruces. The tree would be planted when the weather warmed again after the holidays.
In the midst of that memorable winter, snow had covered our yard and the surrounding landscape with enough of the white stuff to actually play in. We would lay on our backs creating snow angels, dig snow forts, and roll huge balls of snow into our own version of Frosty the Snowman. We also rolled ourselves through the fluffy stuff, as only primary aged kids can do, with complete abandon and absolutely no idea of where we were rolling! That is....unless you landed in a hole filled with ice, slush, and water, intended for one of Dad's trees.
It happened so fast! My sister had rolled right into the tree hole, and came out sputtering and in shock, the frigid water at first forcing the air from her little lungs. Shivering with cold, my sister sprang to her feet, and with an intake of breath,ran howling for Mom and the warmth of our house. Mom met the soaking wet bundle of snowsuit, hat, and mittens at the door, and had her strip down completely before hypothermia could set in. Off came the snowsuit and clothes, all the way down to her underwear. As if on cue, and before a dry towel could be wrapped around her frozen, little body, the paperboy appeared at the door to collect his weekly fee. My sister, already traumatized, was now mortified by the arrival of the paperboy. This just added insult to injury. (As does the retelling of that bare-it-all story...love you sis!)
Now I am sure my memory of this day may not be exactly the same as my sister's, but regardless, it has become one of those family stories that is well loved, and has already been passed down to the next generation. As young children, my kids in particular, would beg me to tell the story of their "Aunt and the Christmas Tree Hole"...or the time I fell through a hole myself. But that's a story for another time.
A warm country hug to all,