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A tree trimmed with good memories

POSTED: December 6, 2009 1:00 a.m.

There is nothing pretty about the little bird in our Christmas tree. It is made of that shiny metallic stuff that most Christmas ornaments are made of. It has a tail that looks more like a brush. Instead of feet, it has a spring-loaded clip to attach it to the tree.

But it's found a place near the top of our tree. You'd have to be looking for it to see it.

My mama thought there was a place for birds and bird nests in a Christmas tree. That bird is older than I am and seeing it in the box was like seeing an old friend. The nest is up high, too.

This tree is special to us, because it is the first one in our new home. Of all the things we managed to save from the fire, the Christmas ornaments were quite safe.

There is a reindeer made of clothespins that are glued together. They are the old-fashioned kind without a spring. It's a little goofy looking because the antlers are as long as the legs.

I made that reindeer and Mama always hung on to it, so it's there in the tree. It's my tribute to her.

Mama is not the only one who has a place or two on the tree. There are ornaments that were chosen by my daughter Ashton during her pink and purple phase. There is a pink ornament with daisies on it. It was her choice, and I'm glad it's on the tree.

There are some Coca-Cola ornaments I believe to be a gift from my sister-in-law's father, who owned the local Coca-Cola bottling company back in the days when every town had one. One of them has that familiar Santa Claus created by Hadden Sunbloom, who inspired the image of Santa as we now know him.

We have some recent ornaments, too. Like those we purchased when we went to the Macy's parade in New York. Those are good memories, too.

It's a big tree. The box says it is 12 feet tall and I don't think it's an inch less. I'm not sure why I ended up at the top of the ladder hanging ornaments, but I did and lived to tell about it.

It came pre-lit. I had several relatives that came that way, especially at this time of year.

Not being a fresh-cut tree, I don't have a great story about cutting it down, but I'm OK with that. We bought it at a clearance sale last January. They were anxious to get rid of it and we needed a tree.

I enjoy sitting in the living room basking in its glow. I dread taking it down. This may be the year we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas.

It's a brand new tree and I hope we get to enjoy it for many years to come. But thanks to a bird, a reindeer and a pink ornament or two, it's already a tree of memories.

Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column runs every week in Sunday Life.



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