Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Trees

I'm not a big fan of Christmas, but I do like the cookies, the music, and the lights. I've managed to make three kinds of cookies so far: butter cookies, gingerbread, and the walnut crescents which are the popular favorites. I have plans for more... The tree is up, and it's a dandy. Steve's tree is circa 1965 and silver. There is a sturdy wood pole at the center, which makes me laugh because it reminds me of Seinfeld and Festivus. With just the pole in its stand, before the branches have been inserted, it's easy to see how one could move to the "airing of grievances" and "feats of strength," the dark side of the holiday.

Steve still has the branches, which are steel poles wrapped in heavy-duty tinsel, in their individual paper sleeves. I think this act of preservation is extrarodinary. And it is hard to believe that the tree will look as good as it does once all the poles are inserted and fan up and out, obscuring that center pole.

Of course, metal conducts, so there are no lights on this tree. just very light glass balls. The tree came from Steve's grandfather's hardware store. He remembers the year they got it, and thinks he was probably 7 or 8 years old. That puts it right in the mid-1960s, when A Charlie Brown Christmas came out with its critique of trees exactly like this one. Now, of course, it's aged well, and taken on that retro hipness that makes it a fine accessory to any house.

Tim and Annie have a similar silver tree, but theirs is on a rotating platform with lights that shine up through the center. Still, yesterday I was heartened to see Tim pulling a sled with a small tree on it out of the prairie woods and up to their house. It is a really nice tree-- despite its four trunks and obvious struggle to grow out of the brush and come back from deer gnawings, it has a good shape. He put it in an empty spot on the patio.

I awoke to a blizzard this morning, the snow completely obscuring visibility. It has lessened now, but I-94 is closed just west of us, and Fargo and Duluth have extreme blizzard conditions. The snow could last all day and night. It could be fun to ski to work tomorrow, though I don't think it will come to that. In another post I'll put up two cookie recipes...

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