Friday, December 16, 2011
Penrose Christmas Chronicles for December 16 2011: The Twenty-Five Cent Christmas Tree
When we were very young, we all continually pestered Mother to get a tree so we could put it up, decorate it, and turn on the magic colored lights a couple of weeks before Christmas. But Mother never relented, and we always had the tradition of putting our tree up and decorating it on Christmas eve, then all of us sitting in wonder at the magic of the colored lights. I wondered all my life why we had to wait until Christmas eve. Then one day, just a few years ago, one of my sisters told me the reason for our late tree. "Didn't you know," my sister said, "that Mother waited until Christmas eve to get a tree because she could go to town and buy one from the Boy Scouts for 25 cents, and that otherwise she could not have afforded to buy one?" A tearful recognition set in as I thought about all of those Christmas eves when we finally got our tree and decorated it in time for Santa. Not to mention my memories of Dad, who, though he could build houses, barns, cabinets, desks, make incredible inlaid wood marquetry works of art, and anything else, struggled each year to nail a couple of strips of wood together for a Christmas tree stand. But ultimately he succeeded while we some times worried how we were going to ever get the tree up. And thus, Santa was spared coming each year to our little house on another Penrose frosty Christmas eve without a Christmas tree to greet him. Or was it her? We would never know, and still after all these years, Christmas eve remains a mystery to be cherished.