I can still remember the Christmas Tree making a sweet tinkling sound as it swayed in the breeze, every time the front door opened that Christmas season. Dad had had to hang it from a well placed Railroad hook in the ceiling. Because between nine kids and two German Shepard’s the tree had crashed to the ground so many times it was nearly naked. So in a brilliant maneuver, my father the genius, no longer relied on gravity to be his friend. He strung that damned tree up to the ceiling on a railroad hook and anchored it to the walls with twine and nails. It however, it still swayed teasingly when the breeze from the front door played upon it.
Later that same evening, when Dad stopped at his regular watering hole “Boomer’s Bar” on Detroit Avenue, he chanced to speak with an elderly friend of the family. I imagine the conversation went something like this; “So Pappy, how was your day?” asked Dad, to which Pappy replied innocently”Fine Bill, just fine, how was yours?”…at that point, my Father who loved a good laugh, would say something like…”Oh, just the usualyou know..work, put up the Christmas tree, work the second job, put up the tree again, work the third job, NAIL the damned tree to the ceiling!”. Well, when Pappy stopped laughing he thought about it and explained to Dad that since his beloved wife had passed away he hadn’t had the heart to pull out her Christmas Decorations let alone put up all her “Fol-Der-Rol” and he volunteered it to us for our Christmas. A more magical Tree there never was. Box after Box arrived at the house and we kids had more fun discovering all the beautiful and sparkly things that make a old woman’s and young girls heart happy.
Later that week, Dad prevailed on Pappy Paisley to come visit and see the tree. That dear old soul could see just how well loved and appreciated that Christmas cheer was. We little kids danced around him and thanked him profusely. I can still remember in those boxes there were huge giant plastic snowflakes (that upon reflection I’m sure belonged outside on the house) but that we tacked them to the tree like giant stars. All plastic all unbreakable. Hundreds of colorful twinkly ornaments, a lifetimes collection, and even row upon row of Christmas lights. They couldn’t have come to a more welcoming and grateful home. It’s forty years now and a few of those little elf ornaments survive amongst the those giant plastic snowflakes. They have helped up celebrate many a Merry Christmas.
Thank you Pappy…