Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Trimming the Tree

As a growing child, Christmas at my house was always a busy, busy time. My family was continually going to church functions, parties, and family gatherings. But, at the same time, we also always managed to find one night to dedicate all of our time to decorating our Christmas tree.

When the family room addition was finished, the trees grew larger and larger, pushing the limits of tastefulness. The family room had a cathedral ceiling with two large wood trusses splitting the room in thirds. There were a few years when we were forced to tie wires to the trusses from the tree because no stand was strong enough to hold it.

Every year, after the tree was up, my father would pull the strands of lights out from whatever box they were stored in from the previous year. Thus would begin the most imaginative verbal dance I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear. With all his might, my father would try to refrain from swearing and cursing our Christmas tree to the depths of Hell in front of his children.

He usually lost this battle. And my brothers and I were treated every year to the longer, less censored version of Ralphie’s father battling the basement furnace in A Christmas Story. As we grew up, the effort to hold the profanities inside him lessened to the point of no resistance.

Leah experienced it one year. That is why I am not allowed to string the lights on the tree.