Just before the holiday one year, Dad pulled from his station wagon, a bare, lacy-branched deciduous tree. Victim of a construction site bulldozer. He cut off the roots, and stuck it in a tree holder. Mom layered it with clear twinkly lights, strung cranberries, candy canes, white paper birds, and popcorn balls wrapped in glistening orange cellophane. The combination was magical. Early Christmas morning we kids crept downstairs to the dark, turned on the tree lights, and lay on the floor just to watch the lights silently flash branch patterns onto the ceiling.
Long after the popcorn balls were eaten, the candy canes and paper birds put away, the tree remained. I’d still come downstairs on occasion in the pre-dawn morning to watch the branch designs. Eventually though, it became “just one more thing” in a fairly cluttered small house.
We came home one day from school to find the tree gone from it’s place. Dad had taken it, trimmed the fine lacy branches from it, cut down it’s trunk and suspended it from the ceiling upside down, in front of our porch window. Still beautiful, it was the first thing you noticed as you approached the house.
It was as if we had returned to our first love.