From Pipi’s Pasture: Finding the decorations
The first Christmas Lyle and I were married, we went somewhere in the mountains around Fort Collins, where we were allowed to cut a tree for a ridiculously low fee (maybe even a couple of dollars). That’s all we could afford, because I was in my first year of teaching, and Lyle was in college at CSU.
I’ve written before about our tree cutting experience. There were lots of beautiful tall, full trees from which to choose, yet we decided to take home a tree that someone had cut and left behind — all because we felt sorry for the tree! It was missing branches in places along the trunk, so we picked up a bunch of boughs and headed home.
At home, in Timnath (just out of Fort Collins), Lyle drilled holes in the tree trunk and filled in with the branches. We were happy with our Charlie Brown tree.
At the “88 Cents Store” in Fort Collins, we bought a string of lights, some garland, a box of pink bulb ornaments, and an angel. The angel was the same as the one my family had put on top of the tree every year when I was a child.
At last, we had our very first Christmas tree! Our cat, Dini, liked the tree, too, so at night, he climbed up in the branches to explore, I guess, and often knocked off some of the branches. In the process, some of the bulb decorations were broken. (More about this later in the column)
The years passed, and our family decorated lots of live trees. Finally, when the boys had their own families, we grew tired of dry Christmas trees and purchased a big, beautiful “fake” tree with pine cones. Then, a couple of years ago, the box that held the tree broke, and when I dismantled the tree, I put the many, many branches into bags.
The next year, I thought I didn’t have the energy to gather up all those bags, so we put up a smaller, but beautiful, fiber-optic tree. There was no room for decorations, so for two years, the decoration boxes have remained in the storage shed.
This year, we decided to put up a six-foot tree again, but this time, we looked for a tree with “built-in” lights. We just about waited too long to go shopping for one, too, but we were lucky to find a store display tree. We brought it home, and Lyle put it together, plugged in the lights, and we have enjoyed it without decorations — until yesterday.
That’s when I went to the storage shed and dug out the boxes of Christmas decorations. I packed them to the house and opened up the lids.
There, in the top of the first box, was the angel, wrapped in tissue. She is as gorgeous as I remember, dressed in white with a gold halo. Underneath was a box of bulbs, each secured in its own little cardboard compartment. Among the bulbs were two fragile pink bulbs, each showing its age — all that remain from that first year.
There are still more decorations and memories, but those will have to wait until another time.
Time flies by and high school seniors wind down their time as graduation approaches. I’ve never encountered a graduate of our high school who doesn’t want their life to be better in some way, shape, or fashion. Things haven’t gotten any easier for young people who are surrounded daily by the pressures of an increasingly skill-specific economy and pressure-driven expectations for how their lives should be lived.