Friday, December 24, 2010

Our Mississippi Christmas


For many years I had a pencil tree I left up all year. It was a night light and inspiration on gloomy days. The kids decorated it with hearts cut out of colored paper and wrote love messages.

Christmas tree hunting is JB's family tradition. He stressed, "We will not go across the state line." (Sounds like a childhood promise.) That leaves Alabama out and a lot of the Mississippi Hill country in.

I jumped in the truck with Ben. JB pulled a long face and got in his truck. I didn't think to explain that I grew up with livestock, and two people were needed to get in and out of pens. Hogs were a nuisance. They wanted corn and out. We had our hands full getting them back in.

Bump. Bump. Bounce to the pasture gate. Ben slid out to unhook the chain and three saddle horses raced to him. He hollered and made hand motions to back them away. Thank goodness they did because I don't know how to retrieve free range horses.

There wasn't time to get out of the passenger seat and walk around the truck. I did an acrobatic stretch across the console, slid behind the wheel and drove in. Both vehicles safely inside, Ben closed the gate and hooked the chain. One of the black horses had the saddle blanket impression on its back from a recent rider. All three
loped beside us. Social creatures, they might have thought we had apples or we were simply their entertainment.

Small Cedar trees were the object of our search. The can grow tall, but their wispy branches are similar to asparagus gone to seed. Sturdy, fragrant closet-wood trees grow in Nebraska.

It took most of the chilly afternoon to find a nicely shaped tree for each of us. We left the banner trees without branches on their back. Thanks to power saws, the guys quickly sliced off our choices. We finished the day with homemade chicken and dumplings.

200 lights make our after dark tree photograph as a splotch of stars. Miniature wooden angels and snowmen from Germany and Austria, crocheted hearts tied with red ribbons and starched hardanger angels make our tree Merry. The tree top is too fragile for an ornament. I imagined folding aluminum foil and cutting out two angels I would tape together on the inside, but I didn't get it done. Imagine it.

MS is a new life for me;, Christmas a new tradition for us.

Merry Christmas to you all and to all a good night.
God Bless.

2010 Red Convertible Travel Series

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