7:53 a.m. — Atlanta
listening to Fire and Rain by James Taylor
Hello, everyone. For better or for worse, the Christmas shopping is done. Tomorrow I fly to mom’s, where I will find out what I have forgotten to order! I will also set things up for us, the soon to be arriving family horde, to create a paper tree.
Last year, mom gave her tree away after Christmas. It was old and she found it a lot of work watching everyone set it up [I kid you not. I think that’s the reason, although she would tell me not to be silly]. A couple of months ago, while talking with my daughter, Marguerite, about what to do, she suggested turning two past happenings into a tradition.
In 1969, my parents were on their way home to Hong Kong and brought me from college to Hawaii for Christmas. The real tree they had ordered got hung up somewhere. My grandmother, who had flown in from D.C. to join us, suggested we make a tree. You should have seen it. We wound green wrapping paper from the circular ceiling lamp to the circular table, in the room. Then, we all made ornaments from paper, to stick on it. We loved our tree and talked of it fondly, over the years.
In 1984, my husband and two children and myself arrived in Kuala Lumpur, but our shipment had not arrived with us. My husband found green wrapping paper in some tiny store and cut out a Christmas tree shaped tree which he stuck to the wall. Then, we and our two children sat and cut out paper ornaments. We loved our tree and often recall the time when talking of Christmas.
My daughter remembers both the tale she heard of the earlier tree and the pleasure of sitting around creating the second tree. She suggested that, this year, we cut out a Christmas shaped tree which we will stick to mom’s large picture window — we must remember to put something pretty on the back for the neighbours. My husband, Skip, will make large quantities of the world’s best eggnog; we will have scissors, scotch tape, construction paper, origami paper, pre-made flat ornaments, garlands, mini-lights, pipe cleaners, and whatever else anyone brings; somewhere, on one of the four or five computers, we will have Christmas music. We will love the tree and talk about it in the coming years.
This is what we will celebrate, our family. Present will be myself, my husband, our daughter, Marguerite, my younger brother, his former wife, their daughter and her partner; from Vermont we will Skype with our son, Houston, and his family, celebrating their first Christmas on their own; and from Afghanistan, if the airwaves are kind, we will Skype with my other brother.
Well… pause for a moment while she reads the post she had not started out with — this began as a brief intro, after which I would segue into the usual… I don’t know where this came from, but clearly had a need to write it and share it with my other family, my cyber-poet friends, many of whom I have become closer friends than with anyone I actually know. So, whatever your beliefs, your traditions, your celebrations, here’s to family and to friendships.
Yeh, yeh, I know I promised to corner the emotional stuff and back it into its proper sphere. What can I say? You know better than anyone the strength of what needs to be written. Here’s a link to last week’s Friday Freeforall. If you go to any of the links, you’ll be able to navigate to the current prompts. Have a lovely two weeks and I shall see you the first week of January. I look forward to starting another year with you. Now, excuse me while I decorate the page.
P.S. Remember cutting out snowflakes? The Smithsonian has a great how-to article which they published a couple of years ago [yes, that would be my daughter’s name you see mentioned]. Make snowflakes!