Have you put up your tree?
Is it Living?Is it just cut-Barely Living- a Real Tree? Or is it Living in the Attic from year to year?
Memories of bringing home the Christmas tree always began with the question-When will Daddie be home?
Nothing Much commenced until the appearance of our own personal St. Nick- referred to as"Big Red"(a nickname bestowed in high school owing to being well over 6 feet tall and owning an abundance of auburn hair ).
Our own personal St. Nick was in Tennessee or Kentucky following sales of the Burleigh tobacco market. Yes-indeed those are Old Memories- as very few actual tobacco auctions transpire in today's world. I was raised upon it-the heady scent of cured tobacco before it was wrapped in paper,filter added and the end burned for what I consider a very sickening odor-but I digress. What I am talking about here is the scent of fresh pine-heavenly.
When would Daddie be home?
When could we get the tree?
When? When? When?
Every year the answer was the same-Not until your father gets home. December 19th, 20th? That late? If we didn't have an invite to cut a tree somewhere locally we would be heading off to the city to get OUR tree-finally.
Going this route our darling family was inevitably met with the less than trees on the lot and the most expensive. This was before the advent of the silk tree forests that Santa discovered while jetting about in his sleigh- introducing Instant POOF! Christmas Tree-No Chopping Required. Live trees cost quite a bit back then-I remember one year- I was likely about 12, so about 1960, we paid over $50 for a tree-that cut into Big Red's Christmas bonus Big Time I'm sure.
But it was all worth it. Getting the Damn Thing to stand in the stand, crawling about the already dried out-to be sure-limbs to water the Damn Thing, stringing fat colored lights (still absolutely Love those) on the Damn Thing, spending hours with them to actually get them to work. Ah Yes, those were Memories indeed- That was Daddie's job-Of course we waited. Who else was going to do all that work? None other. One year Big Red walked into the house with a tornado of a German Shepard puppy. A Christmas surprise that included driving 8 hours home from the Burleigh with that "wee" one. Did we even Have a Tree that year? Probably- It was about 1965.
Oh! A Puppy, Daddie! Who does it belong to? (Okay- I was only 6 at the time- Of course I was in first grade-but still a Complete Naive.)
Naive? Well, just let me say-It was another year, I suppose I was about 9- that my two older brothers seriously damaged my psyche when they let it drop that St. Nick really was Big Red- and even more St. Nick was really Mother!
That was during the Georgia market- a yearly family enterprise. Summer meant Georgia Tobacco. There I sat in the middle of the big-surely bigger than Santa's sleigh- wood paneled station wagon with flanking brothers spoiling what was once the most magical season of my entire year- Christmas. Mother holding down the fort(the wagon that is) in front, while Daddie was in the warehouse checking up on business.
No Patricia Gaye- There isn't a Santa Claus, a St. Nick either! It is at this point in the tale- I must tell- I was naive and a slightly scared of Old Saint Nicholas. No- I was afraid of Santa and don't even get me started about the Elves. For me Santa was a bit old, sneaky and could easily have been brought up on charges of breaking and entering (Yes, bringing all that great stuff- but still...) and the Elves- just let me say 0Flying Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.
I must also tell you- I took this news incredibly well, I was perhaps even relieved. I would say- quite maturely for someone who believed in a damned scary man that just happened to want children sitting on his lap and menacing Elves. No more Fear, A Christmas Wish List with more heft! I was convinced then and there in the sweltering summer heat as none other than deep South Georgia can give- that there was no Santa-only my wonderful loving generous parents. Still- surely there was an Easter Bunny? I really said that. I believed in Harvey-in every way. The Easter Bunny still Lived On. At that very moment I uttered that -my two flanks rolled out of the open car doors to laugh hysterically at my precious innocence. Mother, I am sure saying Stop teasing your precious innocent sister.
But I digress.
This is a story about Trees.
After all of the offspring left home-Mother enjoyed accompanying Daddie to the Burleigh. What two vagabonds want to come home and toil over a sappy prickly tree on December 20th? That was the year- probably 1979-the Silk Christmas Tree Tradition at the Tapps began. My mother cried when the little white lights went on the tree replacing the darling fat color ones. She still believed. I cried too. So do I. Thirty years later the tradition continues. This year-an added bonus- No bending over to plug in the lights but the addition of little presser foot to flick the lights on as we say Merry Christmas!
Where does your tree live?