As I look at out tree this year I've been thinking back to all the different types of trees and Christmases we've had over the years.
The first year we were married we lived in a little apartment. We had no extra money, as I was back in school to get my teaching certificate and Sweetheart was working at Enterprise Rent a Car. Looking back, it's only by the grace of God we made it through with so little.
We did not plan on getting a tree that year at all, not having either the money nor the space for one. My friend Kathy though, said we had to have a tree and couldn't see how we could not have one. I didn't give it any further thought as other events soon distracted me.
My Grandmother, Effie, died the week before Christmas that year. I was busy with school and a new husband, but still visited her as I could. She had just had a pacemaker put in and then contracted pneumonia, probably from the hospital stay.
I was with her the evening before she died. I thought she was getting better and left her to enjoy her chocolate Hagen Daz ice cream and head home to do my schoolwork. I was at school the next morning when the call came to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. It was just a few miles away, but I did not make it in time. I am glad that I had taken the time to be with her the night before, though I don't think anyone can ever feel as though they have spent enough time with someone.
That week was a whirlwind of activity as we went from Durango to Phoenix for the funeral. It was a sad time. Sweetheart could not leave work and so I went with my Dad, Stepmom, and Great Aunt to Arizona. My sister flew in greatly pregnant with the first grandchild, a son who would be born the next month. We all wished Grandma would have been able to meet him. He is a joy.
We were in Phoenix for several days arriving home to Durango just before the holiday. Imagine my surprise to see a little tree waiting for me. My friend Kathy had dropped it off in my absence. It was just about a foot high.
Having no decorations, or Christmas lights, I improvised. I had one string of lights that were in the shape of roses that I had used to decorate a window before. I put those on. Then I got creative. I tied on little silver and gold teaspoons with ribbons. I raided my collection of dried flowers and tied those on as well. I even put on a few demitasse tea cups that I had. It was a Christmas Tea Tree! And it turned out quite lovely.
On Christmas morning, before heading over to my Father's, Sweetheart and I made our tea and sat in front of our little tree. We took a few pictures and just spent some time together. That sweet gesture of a true friend sticks with me and was able to brighten a Christmas that had been dimmed with the grief of loss. Thank you, Kathy.