This week I’d like to share a post from my writing friend Jessie Heninger and her blog Confessions of a House Wife. Jessie’s writing is like a warm blanket on a frosty day. Her storeis always leave me feeling snuggly warm all over, and I love how she writes about the truly best things in life. To learn more about Jessie or to read more her often funny, often crazy, often moving tales visit: www.jessieheninger.wordpress.com.
A Christmas I’ll Always Remember…
I spent most of my childhood years in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The snow really takes a toll come May but at Christmas time it’s simply magical. You can’t imagine how lovely a place that is mostly wooded, even in town, is when it’s covered in white, white snow and sparkling ice.
When I was in tenth grade we moved to the lower part of the state. Our first holiday season there we were in the midst of renovating the house my parents had just bought and living with my grandparents. We decided that we were going to get a tree and put it up in the new house and stay there on Christmas Eve, even though we weren’t living there yet. We actually strung lights on the trees in the front yard, as the postman jokingly asked, “Aren’t you supposed to move in first?”
In the Upper Peninsula we always cut our own tree. You can get a special tag from the DNR and go to the actual forest and cut a real wild tree. It was always a tromp through deep snow and a race against the fading daylight to find the right tree, which usually ended up being quite crazy looking, having never been privy to pruning, with crooked trunks and crooked boughs. This particular year, however, we piled into the van and went to the local tree farm. We wore sneakers, not snow boots, and jackets instead of coats. There was not a flake of snow to be found. We cut our nicely manicured tree and the nice workers loaded it up into the back of the van.
My littlest sister had to sit on Mom’s lap in the front while my other sister and I were basically sitting in the tree. There was no space for our feet and not much room to move at all. That’s not a problem when the Christmas spirit is upon you. And all was well as we sang carols traveling past green fields…until my sister said, “Um, I think there’s something in the tree.”
I froze. I was sitting in the tree! “What do you mean?” my mom asked casually.
“Like the tree is moving,” she answered, her voice sounding frantic.
And, that’s when I saw it. The tree was alive with insects! Hundreds of bugs, which up north had long been killed by snow and ice, were alive and well, living it up in our Christmas tree! And we were sitting in the tree, with nowhere to go! Only miles and miles of bug infested, snow free, travels ahead of us. Honestly, I get itchy just thinking about it.
I’m sure there were screams and tears. I am CERTAIN that my youngest sister laughed, (the little twerp.) I can still remember how the tree smelled after my dad sprayed it with bug spray. This bug tree memory is burned into my brain…and I am so very glad.
That was a hard year full of changes. I’m glad that I have this memory to look and laugh at. A moment in time that truly set my family apart from the other people in our lives. A moment that bound us closer together. I remember that Christmas, even though there was no snow, so fondly; the three of us sleeping together on mattresses on the floor in the room with the yellow and orange floral wall paper that would soon be torn down. How the room echoed with our whispers on Christmas Eve night because there was no furniture or pictures. The funny smelling tree in our sun room where we opened presents sitting on porch furniture. I remember us being together and being happy. Despite the fact that we were in a different place and environment, we were together. Somehow the magic of that Christmas made our togetherness a magic all its own, cocooning us in the love we shared for each other.