I don't have anything to write about this week. With this weather, and the lack of bravery, I've stayed at home. Outdoor lights were a plan that never materialized. Probably that won't happen this year.
The tree is finally up, has lights, and most of the ornaments are now attached.
Many folks have those beautiful themed trees but mine is more of a memory cone. Most of the decorations have a story. There are the sun faces and kokopelli from the summers in New Mexico. The lighthouses and Santa on a sailboat remind me of my trips to visit lighthouses on the east coast.
They also make me think of the years we lived at Lake Helmerich. The tiny fish and miniature tackle boxes are from that era, too.
My Christmas tree has a few crocheted ornaments from the long retired school secretary. She knew that I loved them and "arranged" to get my name several times in the Christmas draw we did each year.
The hand painted Santa face came from Bert. With almost 700 students per year, I don't have a real face or last name for Bert but still enjoy the ornament he gave me. There is an anonymous painted ball, too. I remember how the mom dressed and that she was one of those special parents that would help with anything. Her daughter was a good student but remains nameless. That ornament used to have colorful ribbons at the top but time has taken them.
For years, Lloyd Martin, the principal, gave each of us an ornament that he had the teacher assistants personalize with our names and the date. Many of those frail looking wood ornaments still survive. He bought a gross of them at the time and doled out a different one each year. I wonder how many other school staff still have and use their ornaments. Maybe I should send the principal a note and tell him that mine are still being used on the tree. He might like that.
My Christmas tree has lots of birds.
I have tried to make them look as if they are flying around the tree and touching down on just the tip of a limb here and there. Several bird feeder replicas are scattered among the branches. And then there are the buffalo and ostrich ornaments made from copper.
I bought those the year I had a student teacher named Bob. His family ran a buffalo farm complete with small restaurant and gift shop. They had ostriches, too. He invited some students to one of the Mountainman Campouts they held twice a year. I took the Art Club students there one Saturday to see the crafts and do some sketching. I think of that student teacher each Christmas as I hang those ornaments.
One of our school secretaries liked to make crafts. Susie would sometimes host a craft show and sale at her house a few weeks before Christmas. I have a corncob painted like a Santa face and a twig from a tree that was made into a very skinny old St. Nick. I know there were others that I bought but they have been lost or shared over the years.
When I retired in 2003 I bought 5 small wooden rocking chairs for the tree. Another year I found a fat little mouse in artist garb holding a paint palette. And of course, there are the angels. You can never have enough angels. There are glass ones, and crocheted ones, and small angels dressed up like Barbie dolls in pretty full skirts. A large angel with real feathered wings tops the green fake tree. Allergies don't allow a real one anymore. But I don't mind.
There are those kinda ugly ornaments, too. You don't want to throw them away but they just don't seem to go out front anymore. That one has a stain. The bird is missing a beak. There is a little ruffly, pillowy thing that says special teacher. Over the years they have moved to the back of the tree but you just can't part with them.
Then there's the plastic Santa head hanging from a bent piece of red plastic wire that has to go out of sight. It's big and ugly. At one time, it had a metal hanger, I think. It was the top to a cylinder of candy that I received in elementary school. Someone at Jackson Township gave me that in the Christmas exchange. The tube of candy went fast but the Santa head stopper was too good to throw away. Besides, it also had a slot to keep your pennies. Mother dropped in a couple of coins when we lived in the little house on Hadley Road and they have been there ever since. It is not pretty but it's priceless.
The stringy icicles that fall all over the floor are there because Mother always liked them. We had to put on those strips of silver at the end of each decorating cycle. I hated them as a kid, thought they looked cheap. I wanted a fancy tree back then.
When I had my own home I planned, I would have my own tree the way I wanted it. There were years when all the ornaments were handmade Victorian fans that I spent weeks making.
Another year, the only ornaments were glass balls. Everything matched but somehow there was something missing. Fancy just doesn't interest me anymore. Birds mix with little tackle boxes and ugly plastic Santa heads. One Christmas tree is enough now.
Almost every bauble I unwrapped had a memory attached. Nothing there cost more than a few dollars, usually the ornaments were bought on sale. The buffalo at $4 was probably one of the most expensive ornaments. The tree is uniquely mine.
It won't be in any magazine or make it on the Antique Road Show but it is my treasure.
You can still order RADA knives from any Harmony United Methodist Women member or go online to www.helpourfundraiser.com to place an order. When you reach the site, type in the customer number: 501674 and the password: harmony.
There is still time to take gloves, mittens, and hats to church for the mitten tree. These will be donated to needy children. Contributions are needed for the Christmas baskets. Please send donations to the Clay County Benevolence Society, too.
Happy Birthday to Warren Bell and Betty Evans (22nd), Amaya Jones (24th), Brad and Chris Pell (Christmas Babies). Happy Big 30 to another Christmas Baby, Jodi Green. I wouldn't want to tell her age, of course.
Harmony United Methodist Calendar:
Dec. 18 -- Worship Committee 6:30, Admin Board 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 -- Worship Service 9 a.m., Sunday School 10:45 a.m.
Dec. 23 -- Bowling Leagues at Brazilian Lanes
Dec. 24 -- Christmas Eve Communion 5-7 p.m.