Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Have Yourself a Scrappy Little Christmas: Pretty Much a True Story

There was once a pine tree standing tall, but not so proud, in an ordinary yard next to a black ordinary mailbox. The family of the house, where the tree and the mailbox stood, never once noticed the not so proud pine tree until one morning after a terrible storm.

As the family was driving down the very long drive way, they noticed that there were piles of branches and trees everywhere. It looked like someone came along in the night and dumped limbs upon limbs on the side of the very long drive way. Father stopped the car so he and Mother could figure out what happened: this is when they saw the very tall, not so proud, pine tree for the first time. But this time, it wasn't standing: it was laying over the ordinary black mailbox in the ordinary yard and it had been cut down! But why?

After further investigation, Father discovered that the very tall (but definitely not very proud now) pine tree had gotten tangled in the electrical wires. No wonder they lost electricity last night! The electric company must have had to cut a lot of branches and the very tall pine tree down to fix the wires! Poor pine tree: thought the family. Too bad they had to cut it down. It was a very tall pine tree.

A couple of weeks passed and the family was full of Thanksgiving turkey and tired from traveling. The family had been busy with school and work and all those other things families do. So busy that the very tall pine tree was still laying on the ordinary black mailbox: No one had moved it! Every day they passed it down the very long drive way. Every day Mother moved the branches to get the mail and packages out of the box. Every day Father thought: I should really move that tree.

On Saturday, the children wanted to decorate the house for Christmas but Mother had to unpack and Father had to keep raking all the leaves from the very tall, very proud oak trees in the ordinary yard. They didn't have time to go to the tree farm today. Maybe tomorrow? But the children insisted and persisted. It was then Mother had an idea: She told Father to bring up the very tall pine tree from the ordinary yard and trim it to fit into the house. Why cut down another tree at a farm when we have one right here? We might as well use what we have.

So Father pulled the very tall, and apparently very heavy, pine tree out of the ordinary yard and up the long driveway. He measured it and cut it and put it in some water. All the while, the Mother and the children brought up the Christmas decorations from the basement with such excitement. They couldn't wait to put their favorite ornaments on their tree! During all the bustle, Father brought the tree inside and placed it in its usual place in its usual tree stand. Oh, said Mother. Hmmm, said Father. That's our Christmas tree? said the children.

The very tall pine tree was now a scrappy little pine tree. The branches were long but not thick and strong like last year's Christmas tree. The family tried to place their big, fancy glass balls on it: but the branches drooped and couldn't hold up the treasures. The needles were soft but not plentiful like last year's Christmas tree. The family started to put all its twinkling white lights on it, but it didn't really need all of them: only a few short strands. The tree was as tall as last year's Christmas tree, but it wasn't as stout and proud. The family put the usual star on the tippy-top and the little pine tree leaned over to one side. No star this year!

Father said: I think it is a fine tree and besides, it’s free. Mother said: All God's trees deserve to be loved. The children searched through their decorations and found the lightest ones they had. Last year, they just dumped the bags and hung ornaments hand over fist in holiday frenzy. This year, they would study and feel each item to find just the perfect ones for their scrappy little tree. Brother placed the ornaments carefully up high and Sister placed them very gently down low. Gold, green and red balls. Handmade creations from over the years. Wheat wreathes and pine cones. Even some of their very favorite, yet smaller, ornaments made it on the tree.

The tree was done. The family stepped back to view their work. If you squint your eyes, it almost looks good: said Mother. Hmmm: Father said. Not really: said Sister standing there with her little eyes squinted and her head tilted to the right. It's not so bad. Poor tree: said Brother. So the family stood there a bit looking at the scrappy little tree. Then they finished the rest of the work. Brother filled up the water reserve just like last year. Mother and Sister tied on the tree skirt just like last year. The cats came and curled under it just like last year. And Father plugged in the lights....just like last year.

So now the scrappy little tree, (formerly the tall, not so proud, pine tree), was a glistening, glittering Christmas Tree. It no longer laid in the ordinary yard down the long drive way over the ordinary black mailbox, but stood, with adorned branches stretched out to be admired and loved.

And as the family stood, arm in arm amidst the mess of the evening; they all agreed that this was the best Christmas Tree ever!