Maybe next year a new Christmas tree
This time last November, we looked at the bare tree and said it would last one more Christmas.
We did the same thing the year before and the year before that. We repeated the prediction Saturday before the tree went up for at least the 10th time, maybe the 15th.
One of the tree's midsections wobbles. But by this time each year we are committed financially for Christmas and don't want to add the cost of a replacement.
Regina always promises to get a marked-down version with lights after Christmas but she never does.
So the old one goes up and I slip in a shim to steady the section that in a real world might get taken down by Decatur's tree cops as being unsafe.
With lights, the tree starts looking better. By the time she hangs ornaments that take her down memory lane, it's looking pretty good.
The highest limbs hold six ornaments that survived her childhood. There are cheap ornaments from our first tree, those Lynn and Mary Grace made as children, those from friends like the Santa with the long nose from George and Cathy Hansberry.
Then there is Regina's travelogue that traces to my frugality and her need to return with nothing her backpack will not hold. That is how we acquired British bobbies, the Eiffel Tower, a Scottie and a thistle from Scotland, a shamrock from Ireland.
She remembers each as it goes on the tree.
The cow bell came from Switzerland, the cuckoo clock from Munich, the cross from Rome, the Eskimos and dogsleds from Alaska, the Dutch shoes from Amsterdam, Pinocchio from Austria, the prism from Prague, the stacked dolls from Russia, the rearing white stallions from Vienna.
A special one is the White House ornament from the Clinton years when she and Amy Burks went to a Christmas party there.
Perhaps the prettiest, though, are a golden orb ornament of the world from the United Nations and ornaments from the Salvation Army, a gift from Major Mark Smith.
The tree trimmed, we always step back, look it over and agree that we might not need a new one for several more years. Memories hide a lot of flaws.