Sunday, December 9, 2007

O, that Xmas Cheer

Well.  That was unpleasant.  I get food poisoning/stomach virus maybe a couple times a year, so it's not that big a deal.  When you tear your throat and vomit blood.. that's when things get interesting.  Anyhoo, even that passed quickly enough.  Just to be sure, I went to the doctor, who bade me get a chest x-ray from this delightfully antique x-ray machine.  I kind of like vintage medical equipment.  It all looks so much more medicalish than the sleek computerized devices of today.
I got off my duff and set my tree up tonight.  This year it's going to be white with pink lights and ornaments, and why not?  Also, it came to my attention that of the two strings of outdoor lights I hung on the roof, only one was blinking.  That just looked odd.  So I got me some replacement blinky bulbs, climbed back onto the roof, and made the non-blinky string go blinky.  Now that that's fixed, the formerly blinky side has decided to curtail its blinking activity by half.  Sigh.  I really don't wanna climb back up there again.

Again, I opted for a more minimalist approach to the tree modification:  lights, a few boxes of simple, glass ornaments.  When I was young, we would get huge fir trees that always had to be sawed off (at the top or bottom) to fit, with long gangly branches with large open spaces, that would take up half of the living room once it was screwed into its stand and properly balanced.  Seasonal music would be placed on the old, faux-wood-grain record player.  Then out would come the Giant Box of Christmas from under the stairs.  This huge, time-worn box (the top edges soft and creased by the weight of eager children trying to peer over the edge and reach inside) contained pure holiday heaven to a young child's eyes-- filled to the brim with house decorations and ornaments.  Then the tree would be decorated with miles of lights (the big bulbs, not the dainty ones), complete with large, aluminum reflectors, and loads of silver tinsel (I recall loving to thrust my hands into the tinsel box and squeeezing.. mmm..  tinsel squishiness.)  Then came the hundreds of ornaments, of which very few twos were alike.  Mirrored stars and balls, elaborate homemade ornaments, glass ones, clear ones, cloth ones, plastic ones, pretty ones, gaudy ones, pipe cleaner ones, fake birds (both new and mangled cat-attacked ones), and just about everything else imaginable.  A chaotic cacophany of christmas cheer.  The frickin holiday spirit threw up all over those trees and, god, it was wonderful. 

I had adventures on those trees.  My mind would wander along the avenues of the branches between the needles and lights.  Wars would begin between different factions of ornaments (chiefly among my mom's homemade ornaments, which looked a whole lot like deep sea jellyfish) over ownership of the tree.

I had remember getting up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons in December, clad in my footed PJs, for cartoons (usually while the color bar stripe of the off-air channels was still showing) and plugging the tree in.  I'd be the only one awake in a darkened house, while it was cold and dark outside, sitting in the rainbow glow of the vast tree.  Slowly, as the bulbs began to warm and blink, I would hear the faintest, almost inaudible, tinkling of the lights.. tink, tink, tinkle, tink, tink.  The sound of happiness.

I think you have to be a child to fully appreciate that kind of wonderment.  Only flickers can ever remain, and child-like glee is nowhere near the same thing as a child's glee.  But, still, those feelings were strong enough to keep me enjoying the holiday season despite all the commercialization, congestion, and whatnots.  It's something the real world can't touch or tarnish.  And so, though my tree is nothing like the garish trees of old, I continue to set it up and decorate in honor of those all too fleeting christmasses of the past.  Because that's something worth doing.