On Saturday, Mel carried our Christmas tree box upstairs. We paid $75 for our 6 foot fresh Douglas fir, perfect size for our small living room. (My husband calls it the “front” room.)
“Have we ever paid that price for a tree, even when we chopped them down with the girls?” I asked.
He’d mentioned earlier that the inflation and unemployment rates are low. I didn’t believe his inflation report for prices rise each time I purchase the same product, with the exception of gasoline and phone service.
When we built our home thirty years ago, our first propane bill reached $500. The builders didn’t break ground until October. Then they took several weeks off for deer hunting and the Christmas holidays. We moved in mid-February with the furnace roaring.
Our first phone bill shocked us at 500 bucks. We hadn’t considered our area code is Oakland County and our two younger girls attended Romeo Schools in Macomb County. Long-distance calls outnumbered the local.
Thank God that’s long behind us. Consumers Power offered us a supply line, and competitors forced ATT to come to their senses. We sometimes wonder how we made ends meet back then.
I plugged in my two trusty sets of vintage colored lights and discovered they’d given up the ghost while stored in the basement.
Okay, Plan B: use the surplus white lights I bought last year for my redbud tree and couldn’t use because the limit is 3 sets at 150 bulbs each, a mere 450 twinkle lights for a tree the breadth of twenty feet.
This part I’d forgotten yesterday as I merrily connected five strands to equal 750 bulbs to illuminate our yuletide season. Then began the toughest part of Christmas: unwrapping those ornaments our three little daughters created to hang on our tree, now wanting their blue and hazel eyes.
As Perry Como crooned Silent Night, I heard a click and all but the bottom set of lights went out. Crestfallen, I eventually recalled the 3 set limit and submitted to the dictates of the manufacturer. At last, with 450 twinkling lights, I arranged my favorite ornaments and climbed the steps for bed.
Today, Handel’s Messiah accompanied another repair to the wings of my Christmas fairy; a charming gnome I purchased in the former gift shop in downtown Romeo named Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. The elf is over twenty years old with wings as arthritic as my back.
Tomorrow, I’ll dangle the pixie from the dining room chandelier to fly toward the ceramic Nativity my mother-in-law crafted for me when newlywed. In successive years, she added pieces until she completed the manger scene with donkey, cow, and sheep.
In all the Christmases of yesteryears, no one poured herself into decorating and giving to her children and grandchildren as my mother-in-law and mother.
Dear Reader, as a young mother, I couldn’t foresee a Christmas tree forlorn for children and grandchildren tearing open packages.
Praise God for the Nativity. Jesus, our salvation, hope, and joy. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.
Email Iris at irisleeu@sbcglobal.net.