Raising tree part of family tradition

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 2, 2010

It’s Sun., Dec. 27, around 3 p.m. My husband snoozes in his recliner in front of the television. You might say all’s quiet and almost back to normal at our house after the Christmas rush.

A little while ago, our granddaughter Melissa rolled out of the yard in a little red rental car on her way to Montgomery. There she’ll board a plane for Memphis; then she will take a flight home to Lexington, Ky. Her mother and dad saw her off with us and left for home a few miles up the road.

As usual, I had lagged behind getting our Christmas tree up. When Melissa called several weeks ago to tell us her Christmas schedule, she added, “I’ll help you put up the Christmas tree, Grandmother, and take it down for you before I leave.” I laughed, thanked her, and resolved to have the tree, resplendent with lights and familiar ornaments, glowing in the window when she arrived late at night on Dec. 23.

Several days after her call, my husband and I hauled the partially assembled tree from the garage to the house. As he pushed it in a wheelbarrow, branches fell off and bounced to the ground. By the time we placed it in the usual spot in front of the living room window, I had an armful of disengaged branches. The tree looked pretty ragged. I crawled around on hands and knees, trying to fit the loose branches in the correct color-keyed slots. I finally used a flashlight to determine what went where. When I finished, there was a big gap in the middle. Where were those four branches? We searched the garage with no results. When I took the ornament boxes down, three of the missing branches rested neatly inside one of them. I found the fourth one later that day. “One of these days, I’m going to buy one of those pre-lighted trees,” I told myself, as I have for several years now.

Since I had some last-minute Christmas duties, our daughter offered to decorate the tree. I tested several long strands of lights. One seemed helplessly tangled, but we finally stretched it across the living room and took out all the kinks. She placed the lights. I helped her clamp the star on top.

I ventured back into the living room several times while she hung the ornaments. We paused and reminisced about several of them. That big crystal one she was about to hang reminded me that years ago the grandchildren had broken a similar one as they nosed around the packages under the tree.

Sure enough, the tree stood tall and aglow when Melissa arrived. As she rushed to leave today, I jokingly told her she couldn’t go yet because she had to dismantle the tree. Actually, we plan to enjoy it as the year 2009 fades out and 2010 slips in.

Happy New Year to you and yours.