Forty-six Christmases for Spouse and me, 46 years of collecting ornaments, 46 years of December rememberings.
With one hand Spouse carries our three-foot tree down from the attic. I tote a box of specially chosen ornaments from the basement, leaving the other five boxes untoted and unopened. I’ve neglected them for the past four years; plain red balls, a few plastic candy canes…meh.
The two sections of the tree go together in nano-seconds. Long gone are the allergy-inducing live Norway pines. Long gone are the hours I’d spend picking needles out of the carpeting and long gone are the nights worrying that dried needles that dropped into the baseboard electrical heating system might ignite.
But never gone is my very fond memory of our first Christmas. We snow-mobiled into the woods. I had in mind a 15′ tree, a statuesque beauty that would shine brightly from our apartment window.
Spouse had a different idea.
“That’s way too big!” he protested. “It’ll won’t fit on the car and it won’t fit in the apartment.”
“OK,” I sniffed, nose already dripping more from manufactured grief than from frosty air; “you pick one out.”
“Over here. I’ve got just the one,” Spouse said.
My heavy boots made trudging through deep snow a challenge, but I followed him.
Images of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree came to mind. In fact, that one would have looked glorious next to the bony, scraggy tree Spouse pointed out.
Tears welled up behind my snowmobile glasses. Snot clogged my nose. (I could be quite the drama queen back in the day.)
“Don’t you want our first Christmas to be meaningful?” I sniveled, tears pooling and freezing in my eyelashes.
Long story short: The tantrum I was considering was cut short by my fall. I laughed as Spouse worked hard to pull me out of the deep drift of snow. I climbed onto the back of the snowmobile. We drove home and purchased a tree more fitting for our three-room apartment, a tree more likely to keep our three-month old marriage together.
Now it’s almost half a century later and I’m quite content with our fake micro-tree. It won’t hold our five boxes of ornaments, but it’s more than up to the task of holding the important ones–those that are worthy of December rememberings.