Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas Ornaments from Long Ago


I remember the evening my parents walked into our house situated on a lane with their arms full of bags and boxes; some wrapped and decorated with curly ribbon. They’d been downtown Christmas shopping. They’d been gone a long time. While our father took the babysitter home, our mother told my brother and me to go upstairs and get our pajamas on; then come back down and stay in the living room while she put things away. I watched her put one box on the dining room table as I hurried up the front stairs. When our father returned, we were told to sit by the tree in the living room. I could hear them whispering in the dining room. Then in they walked with my mother carrying that box she’d placed on the dining room table.

Sitting in a chair by the tree my mother handed the box to my father. I can see him standing there still wearing a tie. He was always wearing a tie. Sometimes he’d be wearing a tie as he strung the tree with strands of blue lights. My father loved those blue lights. But he wasn’t stringing lights that night. Opening the box he was holding, my father slowly took out one precious ornament after another. They weren’t like any other ornament already in place on the tree. Each looked hand-painted. Each presented a unique design. They all shimmered under the blue lights. As my father hung the ornaments high up on the tree, my mother explained the box my father was holding was the last box of those beautiful ornaments for sale in the store. I remember feeling so happy that my parents bought that box. It felt as if they’d brought home a hidden treasure. In a way, they did.

Once all those ornaments were in place, we took a moment to enjoy the tree; to take it all in as those sparkling, shimmering ornaments glistened under the blue lights; adding to the splendor of the tinsel my mother had methodically put in place and the other ornaments already on the branches. It was a glorious moment, even for little kids awaiting Santa Claus.

Now years later I am blessed as keeper of those precious ornaments. I think my parents would be happy to know I don’t hang them on the tree. Instead I put them out for all to see. I can look at them as I go about my day. I can tell their story to those who might not notice them on the tree with all the other ornaments. And when Christmas is over for another year, I will take them down and pack them up in that box my father held as he placed those ornaments on the tree. The box and those ornaments came from Woolworths located in a downtown of long ago.

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