Monday, December 15, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Yesterday, while temps were well above freezing, Lilly and I went to the nearest Christmas tree lot, which purveys trees harvested in the UP. What better place for a Christmas tree plantation? Lilly picked one, a thick balsam fir, I agreed with her choice, and the thing was netted and jammed into the back of the Sienna, which is just large enough for such jobs.

Now it stands in the living room, carrying Victorian custom into the 21st century. If it was good enough for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, it's good enough for me. But it isn't too likely that they had on their tree a blue-green Alamo-National rental company foam bus, about four inches long and two inches wide, which is one of our decorations. I might have picked it up as a tchotchke at a convention sometime or other, and it was probably intended to be a stress-ball-like thing for office desks. How it ended up in the ornament box, I don't know. But it's been there for a few years, and the green and blue go fairly well with evergreen branches.

The other ad-originated item on the tree is a Michelin Man, but he was designed to be a tree ornament, complete with red Christmas coat and hat, plus a loop for a hook. Where he came from -- besides France -- I don't know either. There are a few minor mysteries on this tree of ours, and I like it that way.

No elves, though. My parents acquired a half-dozen elves in Germany in the 1950s, made from pine cones, three inches tall or so, each with a different instrument. An elfin band. By the time I took over decorating the tree in the early '70s, these elves' customary place was near the base of the tree, in the lower branches. Why? Just because, that's why. The same reason we had a star, not an angel, on top.

But it proved to be their undoing. In the spring of 1976, we got a dog, Katie. In December 1976, Katie destroyed most of the elves. Maybe she didn't like their looks. I think one or two survived, and in later years hung higher in the tree.



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