Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Christmas Tree Up!"

Our Christmas tree is up and ornamented, and if I had a camera, I would post a photo of it here. (I’ve asked Santa to bring me a camera so simple to use that even I, of the many thumbs and wits so dim, can figure it out.)

For over fifteen years now, we’ve had an artificial tree—or as Mr. Lucky calls it, “the tree that saved our marriage.” When he was in the Air Force and we were stationed in California back in the early 90’s, he insisted on driving from one end of the San Joaquin Valley to the other in search of the perfect tree—by his definition, a tall, lush fir that didn’t lose a single needle when he shook it, boasting a retail value of at least $35.00, but sold to him for less than $10.00 because he had a nice face.

We had some hideous arguments that once nearly got us into a car accident. After a whole day of searching in vain for his idea of the perfect tree, we came home without one, and weren’t speaking to each other. After dinner, he stormed out by himself and came home an hour later with the $35.00 tree that earlier that day almost landed us in divorce court.

Two days after that Christmas, he went to Sears and found an artificial tree on sale. It more than paid for itself the following year. It lasted for many years.

A couple of years ago we bought a new artificial tree that stands 7 feet tall, as no one chez Lingefelt is shorter than 5’10”. And God bless whoever came up with the idea of a pre-lit tree! It’s spared me a ton of aggravation. Every January when I put the ornaments away, I would carefully coil up the lights as neatly as possible to no avail. They’d spend the next eleven months in the box tying themselves into knots. Come the following December, I’d spend hours trying to untangle them, laying them out in long trails all over the house, plugging one strand into another to see if all them still worked (every year at least one had managed to strangle itself to death), before they could be added to the tree.

For many years we had musical lights that played seventeen Christmas carols over and over. The lights would blink in time to the music. The Crown Prince loved them, and when he was home and awake, that music had to be on. When the musical lights finally died, we elected not to buy new musical lights. Fortunately he didn’t mind. When he lived at home, he enjoyed helping to trim the tree, and always insisted we put it up the day after Thanksgiving. Failure to do so would result in an endless mantra of, “Christmas tree up, Christmas tree up, Christmas tree up . . .”

For many years we topped the tree with a star that twinkled with multi-colored lights. The Christmas after Fiona died, we didn’t put up a tree at all that year, but went to Georgia to spend the holidays with Mr. Lucky’s relatives. Since then, we’ve replaced the star with a dark-haired angel with outstretched arms. She looks as if she’s supposed to be holding something. Fiona loved pizza, but I have yet to find an artificial pizza the right size for that angel.

But a candy cane fits perfectly in her arms, so that’s what she holds every year. If only I had a picture!

Maybe next year, if Santa brings me that camera.


Wendi said...

I missed you at the Christmas party, Karen. I hope you're feeling better. Merry Christmas to you and your family.


Karen Lingefelt said...

Thanks, Wendi. I was sorry to miss the Christmas party this year. This nasty cold is only now just starting to get better!

Mrs. Brown said...

Karen, I liked the story. Very touching. I hope you find that pizza. By the way thanks for the Christmas card and picture of Baby Bear.
From Mr. Lucky's lil' sis.