Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stupid Christmas Tree

I gave it a lot of thought. I really did. That was after I hauled Hub out of bed to investigate the lonely cry for help of – I don’t know – maybe a cow, perhaps a moose, maybe even an elk.

It was not just some bovine creature saying ‘Good Morning World’. Of course it might be a hungry or cold cow among the farmer’s herd down the road, but if it is, there is nothing I can do about it. It can bawl, it can cry, and if I go down there, it can look at me with haunted worried big brown eyes with tears in them, and still I can do nothing. If ribs aren’t showing, if emaciation isn’t extreme enough for a few of the herd to have already succumbed, it will simply have to continue being cold and hungry.

I really hate the way critter cries dig down so deep inside of me and makes me feel responsible. Where in God’s world did I get this annoying notion that if I have the ways or means to fix it, I must – even if it is none of my business and I know it.

I suffer, man do I suffer, when the farmers in the area wean their calves. Babies crying, mama’s weeping. Makes me heartsick until it finally stops. But then I think ‘oh well, now that it has finally stopped the mom must have gone off to the slaughter-house or the calves to the auction mart’ and the sickness of too much concern over what is none of my business starts all over again.

But going back to this morning’s events, you know, of course, what happened after I rousted Hub out of bed to investigate that brutal cry for help I was hearing?

Nothing. Suddenly total silence. No more calls for help. Just utter silence. And with the breeze and the way currents of sound are magnified in the cold air, I have no idea exactly where the call was coming from originally, so that was the end of that.

Except for me admonishing myself in a sad and sickly way with the thought that I should have rousted Hub out of bed sooner so something could have been done.

But how did I get here in this rant? This was not what I intended to tell you.

What I intended to tell you is I have given it much thought. And eventually decided that I am not going to haul that tree upstairs and piss around with it just so a few of the neighbors and a few of my family members can give it a casual glance before I do the worst of that chore. The horrendous and totally despicable task of putting it all back again for another year.

If the kids were coming home for a day or two en masse, I would do it, but this year that is not going to happen. So the tree can stay in the basement. I have enough other stuff to do to get ready for Christmas without that carry-on…i.e. tangled lights, bulbs that need to be replaced (if I ever can find which one needs replacement), missing hangers, crushed garlands, etc.

Besides the food is much more important. There must be turkey, fresh buns, and pies, and cranberry sauce, and truffles, and the best-ever carrot cake with toasted nuts (not just nuts tossed in out of the nut-bag). There must be hand-made cards for the few I give cards to, because that is what I get from them, and they are far more meaningful than store-bought. And all the corners in this house have to be thoroughly mucked out, the furniture polished, the windows and floors gleaming, and table-cloths laundered and starched. Is it not enough, without the Christmas tree routine?

And so, the decision is made. Only our little gift exchanges and our hearts will signify it is Christmas. There will be no Christmas prompts or add-ons like a stupid tree. My mind is made up. I’m very grateful that I am old enough and mature enough to make this decision without sanctification by others. The tree will stay in the basement. And I am much relieved that it will.

But now, oh yeah, always in the crowd there is some impertinent entity of one kind or another who would press for an alteration of that decision. And that is what has happened here.

That stupid Christmas cactus that hasn’t even thought about Christmas or blooming for six years is blooming all over the place. Screaming at me in desperation like that creature down the road this morning. “Christmas is here. Christmas is here. Better get that tree out of the basement. I can't do all this Christmas-ambiance-stuff all by myself!”

“Well, fine and dandy, then. Anything to stop the whining. So there you go. Here’s a tree if you insist. Now I don’t want to hear another word about it.”


susan said...

Too funny! I've broken down and have a four-footer. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Roberta!

Alan G said...

Well I can assure you that if I held any sort of authority or prominence of any measure, I would personally award you some sort of Christmas Tree Award for that tree.

I never put up a tree but after seeing your photo and realizing that all these past years it would have been as simple as visiting the curb where I leave my weekly trash & brush pickup for the yearly tree selection process, I would have started a tree tradition of my own years ago!

Roberta S said...

Hi susan. Glad you found enjoyment. A very special fond Christmas wish to you as well.

Roberta S said...

Alan, thank you for giving me consideration for a Xmas tree award.

Not too late you know to rush to the trash and brush pile and cheer up your place with a wee little tree.

Thanks for visiting and commenting. You make me smile in the midst of all this stupid trees and stupid Christmas-cacti.

I'm no big fanatical tree hugger, but still I hate to see trees dropped and left along the wayside so there is a rather pleasant 'save the trees' side to this little exercise.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh are just hilarious, and I'm still laughing at the picture of your pitiful tree. I commiserate with your 'tree tirade'...and I don't put my tree up if I'm going out of town for Xmas. (It just doesn't make sense to I can't do all the Christmas-ambiance-stuff all by myself anymore.) I can't seem to stop laughing at that picture...but, that's a lovely gold ornament hanging from it's scrawny neck. Oh, I think I'm going to pop a blood vessel...bye. Happy Holidays sweet friend. ~Joy

Roberta S said...

Joy, what can I say?.. except I'm very glad you are jolly about my silly little tree, because it's the season to be jolly. Thank you for commenting and Happy Holidays to you as well.

Pauline said...

Love this year's tree! My own will look much like it. It all just seems like too much this year to me, too. No one in my family will come to visit me over the holiday so I shall just put one lovely ornament on a branch and call it done. You are an inspiration. (My Christmas cactus blooms at Halloween!)

Roberta S said...

Hi Pauline, thanks for commenting. I haven't seen them but apparently Charlie Brown trees are hot this year - a lot of people buying them. I've been told they are a couple springs of evergreen with one ball, but that is not how I remember the original Charlie Brown tree. The original was a bit of a willow twig with one ball and one leaf that, to Charlie's chagrin, kept falling off. It is not my imagination, my neighbor tells me that is the tree he remembers as well.

Having said all that, there is very much a sweetness in simplicity -- at least seems so to me and obviously to you as well.

Dick said...

A thing of great beauty, Roberta. I hope it was appreciated by all!

I was awaiting a post closer to Christmas/New Year in order to pass on greetings, but it seems the season has taken its tole on your time! So here are my very best hopes to you both for the New Year.

Roberta S said...

Hi Dick. Thanks for the Christmas greetings. Much appreciated.

Yes, I have been neglecting my blog but I'm back with a bit of a rant. The obligatory kind because here in comes one small piece at a time.

But more importantly, Happy New Year to you, Dick, and all your loved ones as well! The best of everything in 2011!

joared said...

Belated Christmas greetings! Love your tree and spirit. Reminds me of a younger friend, now deceased, who waited until Christmas Eve to visit the tree lots to buy the most scraggly tree left on the lot, also at a reduced cost (though the latter had become a necessity.)

Am thrilled to learn there may be hope for my Christmas cactus as has been years since it bloomed. One year only half of it bloomed though year'round I had been carefully rotating the pot toward the window.

I share your haunting concerns for creatures plaintive cries. Is help needed? How to help? Should we interfere with nature? Then, there's the not knowing of why the sounds ceased. Could the creature's need have been met? I would like to believe so.

Roberta S said...

Thank you for that comment, joared, and supportive thoughts expressed therein.

I think what helped my cactus was my own impatience with it. In disgust I moved it to a back bedroom for the last six months for time out. And while there the quota of light and darkness was the right mix. I'm thinking in past years with lights on in the kitchen till all hours of the night, it just couldn't get its bloomin' act together.

Critters cries. You can obviously perfectly relate to how I feel.

joared said...

Was surprised to notice in recent days that part of my Christmas cactus is blooming -- strange!