When Hubby and I were first married, we were young and poor. We had enough to do things, to eat, pay bills, but there was not much extra leftover. We were married almost a year when our first Christmas came around.
Hubby was stationed at a command that had access to some land and the members of the command were allowed to cut Christmas trees for their families. So, one afternoon he went out and cut our first tree. It was an ugly tree. Very large and sparse. I cried when I saw it. I had dreams of going to a tree lot and picking out our tree together. Instead, hubby had gone out,hunted, cut and delivered this big monstrosity of a tree. It was a Thursday when we got our tree. That night we went out to scout out how much lights, ornaments and garland would cost us. Payday was Friday and so we needed to know where to put the budget.
We walked into a store the equivalent of today’s Wal-Mart. We found the lights, the ornaments and then we looked for a tree topper. I grew up having an angel on the top of the tree, hubby had a star. He agreed to have an angel on our tree. We looked at the beautiful angels for the top of the tree. They were all way out of our price range. Then, we looked on a lower shelf. There on the shelf was a solitary cornhusk angel. She was lovely. She was the only one. She was fifty cents. She was affordable. We hid her! We wanted her so badly and we didn’t have fifty cents on us, and we wouldn’t until the next day. So, we did what we had to. We put her clear behind some things and we walked out of the store, hoping that she would still be there the next day.
We went to work, got paid, cashed our checks and headed back to the store. There she was, in her safe place waiting to be taken home with us.
She served us well. She got a little mildewed over the years, but we didn’t notice. We loved her and the memories she held. She knew us from the beginning.
One Christmas, when hubby was deployed on a cruise, I was home with our oldest and our youngest, who was three months old. It was the first Christmas in our home, the one we were buying. I went to the garage, retrieved the tree, the ornaments and the box that held our angel. Opening the box, it was obvious that a field mouse had visited our ornaments during the year. Our home is on a canyon and field mice are a common sight in our garage. Some ornaments had been chewed, but our poor angel was hit the hardest. Her head had been gnawed off and most of her body was in shreds. I cried. She was not going to be with us forever.
I wrote hubby and told him the sad news. I went out and purchased another angel. This one with a ceramic head and a pretty face. She has a beautiful purple gown on. I was pleased with my purchase. I put her on top of the tree and went to bed. In the morning the angel was on the floor. I replaced her to her spot and within hours she was back on the floor. Although she is lovely, she is top-heavy and will continue to do nose dives off the tree top.
I again wrote hubby and told him what was happening. I kept putting the angel in her place for the entire Christmas season. Hubby wrote and said he found us an angel while he was in the Philippines. I was anxious to meet her.
She is lovely. She has silver wings and a beautiful white dress on. She stays on the tree top and she is very special. She is sitting on top of our tree as I write this. Starting the following year, which was the Christmas of 1984 our girls have taken turns putting the angel on top of the tree. I have kept a record of the year and who put the angel on the tree. There are notes like this, Our oldest had the flu, so Daddy put the angel on the tree. As years passed, there were no disagreements about who put the angel on the tree. Soon, it was just me putting the angel on. This beautiful angel that has hair like Princess Leia… we laugh at that now, but, we love her.
Today, as we were putting up our tree with our oldest who is winding down her visit with us, I pulled out the box with our angel in it. I took out a pen and wrote, ” 2013 – our oldest put the angel on the tree” . I never thought all those years ago when I started writing down who placed her on the tree that I was recording history. I saw it as a way to avoid arguments during Christmas time. But, it is our history. Reading through the years I remember. I remember pajamas going from footie pajamas, to nightgowns, to flannel pants and tee shirts to seeing our girls dressed to go out and can we please hurry up with the tree?
Today, I saw my oldest place an ornament and step back to make certain it was well placed. I laughed as we decorated together, as we centered the tree after I moved it the wrong way and it started to lean. We talked and shared memories and all the time our little Princess Leia looking angel was looking down from her perch smiling.
Thanks for stopping by. What do you have on top of your tree? Just wondering. DAF