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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)

TITLE: Paper Ornament Memories
By Charla Diehl


With a sigh, Katie hung old colored bulbs on their newly purchased fake Christmas tree. Walking across her mind were cherished memories of childhood trees. Usually lopsided and purchased late, she recalled how her father would fix the imperfections. With his hammer, a couple of nails and some clippers he’d cut and graft branches until the tree stood straight and balanced. She remembered the fun her dad had as he prepared their home for this joyous season. She could still see the stenciled picture window and the small pair of wooden deer he crafted for her mother. As an adult, she admired his patience as he untangled the tree lights and then searched for the bulb responsible for the unlit string. She could hear the carols playing from the old record player, and she could still feel the love her family shared as their traditions came to life each December.

That was long ago. Katie opened another box of ornaments--the hand made ones--and again sleeping memories woke up in her mind. As she placed the worn paper ornaments, lovingly made by each of her daughters, on the plastic pre-lit, snap-together-in-three-easy-steps tree, her thoughts traveled back thirty-some years.

Millbrook was a tiny mid-western farming community where neighbors were neighborly, like the characters you see in old black and white movies. Each year the nearby nursery allowed residents to cut down their own Christmas trees. With a smile, Katie recollected how the girls were giggly with excitement as they ran around the snow covered hillside in search of their perfect tree. And when they had made their decision, her husband was there to saw it down, drag it to the truck and get it home. Hot cocoa was always on the agenda as the girls waited for dad to do his part--untangle the lights and string them on the tree. In her mind’s eye she could see the clumps of tinsel the girls had creatively placed on the ends of the branches.

Katie missed the sweet scent of pine that filled the house in those days. Ah, yes, the good old days, she thought as a wave of sadness washed over her. Holding a paper ornament outlined in glitter, Katie stared at the kindergarten photo of her grandson. Her daughters were grown now. The little hands that used to hang candy canes on the low branches were caring for teenagers now. Their trees held felt ornaments made from old Christmas cards that Grandma Katie helped her grandchildren glue together when they still believed in Santa Claus.

Finding the perfect spot for the last ornament, Katie stood back and stared at the decorated pre-lit symmetrical tree. On every bough of her modern tree hung old-fashioned memories--and crinkles stretched from the corners of Katie’s eyes when she smiled. Only one more thing to do, she sighed as she dug out the pine-scented candle and searched for a match.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Alice Bowles10/20/08
You woke up the memories in me. Nice story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/22/08
Old fashioned memories are the best, and I enjoyed sharing yours. I, too, think about the past when I get my ornaments out. The last line was a nice touch to end with.