The spirit of Christmas

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Two young boys, huffing and puffing, drag a Flexible Flyer up worn wooden steps, banging and scraping. The boys are dressed like dark woolen snowmen from their watch-capped heads to their over-sized snow boots.

Mother stood over Little Sister, dressing her for the occasion – knitted cap tied under chin with a scarf, multi-layered clothing, and hand-me-down boots.

The three siblings slurged through heavy snow in the driveway, past the mint and white Chrysler with its push button start, into the snow drifts. The children are on a mission; they have their assignment.

They trudged a couple hundred yards – past the now-bald monkey ball trees – until they set foot on the school grounds, then ‘round the back to the dumpsters.

The school’s Christmas tree adorned the large lobby of Lora Little Elementary. After final classes marking winter break, the tree was dragged from the lobby and tossed unceremoniously out the loading dock doors. The tree is forlorn now, marked by several bent and broken branches and bent and wrinkled tinsel.

True to the elementary school tradition, this tree is twelve feet tall and wide as a 1950’s Buick. The Flexi Flyer is a scant few feet long, but none of the logistics mattered. If they did not rescue this tree, they would have no tree.

The three siblings dragged the tree past the sledding hill where one brother would break his leg, past dead weed-choked fencing where the other brother would contract poison oak, past the school’s towering metal and chain swing set where sister would jump, fly!, and dislocate her elbow.

Out of the schoolyard and down the home street, sliding down the driveway, around the house and into the back yard.

Much like Paul Bunyan, Older Brother dispatched his Boy Scout ax from its leather pouch and commenced to chop the tree to a manageable height so it would fit in the rec room.

They set the tree in a teensy, dented tree stand. They re-arranged the leftover tinsel then added their own stored decorations. Paint-flaked ornaments with misshapen hooks, delicately and laboriously placed upon bent and broken branches, until the tree brought the spirit of Christmas into the home.


Filed under Personal Articles, Uncategorized

17 responses to “The spirit of Christmas

  1. I love it, Karen. I can relate.

  2. Karoline Stock

    Merry Christmas, Karen!! What a great way to remember Christmases past!

  3. John M. Soviak

    Great story!! Must have been 1966 when we had the Christmas Eve day snowstorm that dropped about 8.5 inches of snow.

    • karenrsanderson

      Growing up, I was in Delaware. I remember a few Christmas Days when we had snow. I remember building a “fort” in the front yard. Kids used to sled down the street that intersected our street, and right into our driveway, and sometimes into our garage door. I remember Mom and Ang getting so ticked!

      • John M. Soviak

        I grew up in Delaware, too. You and I attended the same schools and were in many of the same classes together. I tried to jog your memory with a line from our Thanksgiving “Pilgrims'” skit from Miss DeWilde’s second grade class. Scott Lloyd and I had to memorize the same line in case one of us developed stage fright. After 55 years I still have not forgotten that line. This world is smaller than most think. We as a family also “stopped” when your Uncle Jerry passed away as my in-laws and Jerry and Pat were best friends. My wife and her siblings grew up with Jerry’s and Pat’s children in the same neighborhood and my wife was best friends with your cousin Kathy. Jerry also handled our car and homeowners’s insurance. Very kind and special folks.

  4. What a special tree! But more special, the three siblings who risked life and limb to bring that tree to their home for Christmas. Lovely story, Karen. Hope your elbow is in good shape. ❤

  5. Wonderful imagery — I felt like I was right there with you! Thank you for sharing this wonderful memory!

  6. Thanks for sharing your story, Karen. Such memorable experiences. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  7. What a great Christmas story, Karen. We have all been through times like that. One year my kids and I collected bottles to make enough money to buy a small tree. Hope you had a great Christmas! xo

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