Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Calendar: The Ersatz Christmas Tree

Back in the 1970s, when our daughters were small children, we had bad economic times. The economy was doing what it pretty much as been doing, again, these past couple years. We had very little money that year for Christmas, and in order to be able to afford some presents, mainly for our kids, we did not buy a Christmas tree.

But my husband very much wanted one. So he came up with a ridiculous solution: he went out into the yard and cut a raintree sapling. Not hard to come by -- the raintree that grew in the back yard, though it was beautiful to look at, was a wanton among trees. It reproduced with great abandon, to the point that the most prolific weed in our yard was raintree saplings! He stripped the sapling of its few spindly branches. He cut a bunch of ligustrum branches. We had no problem attacking the ligustrum -- we hate the nasty things. These branches were tied or otherwise affixed to the raintree sapling.

And there was our tree -- ridiculous to look at, but decorated to the nines, anyway. We laughed at the poor thing then, and we still laugh about it today, when we recall how, despite being scrawny and jury-rigged, it brightened what could have been a dismal holiday season. I do have a photo of it, but with papers and final exams looming, and being sick the past couple days, I have not had time to hunt for it.

The poor thing is long gone, but it still keeps on giving us joy every time we remember it and laugh.

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