The Night the Christmas Tree Fell

Wednesday December 15, 2010

I can close my eyes and see it all again.

A blur of lights, limbs, and shrieking boys.

It ended with a big crash, more noise than damage.

It all began innocently enough. We took the proverbial trip to choose the tree – a four to six stop endeavor. No skinny tree for me. If I’m paying the big bucks for a tree here in Florida, it’s gonna be a good one.

Nowhere is the bargain hunter more evident than in the night we seek a tree. The boys file into and out of the van – repeatedly – as we go for the holy grail of evergreen.

My husband’s famous last words: “It’s awfully tall. I guess I can cut some off the bottom. And it’s a bit crooked, honey, but I can fix that. Maybe they’ll give us a good deal.”

Confident that he can straighten things out, we load that sucker into the van, boys dodging needles all the way home.

Dad, the saw, and the boys work on the tree. When it finally goes up, Dad stands on a ladder with fishing line.

“What are you doing?” I ask innocently.

“Oh, just stringing it up a bit for stability. It’s still a little crooked. This should hold it.”

And off to work he goes. The boys and I gather in the living room to watch Mouse Hunt (such a fun family movie), and we’re well into the popcorn and laughter, when I catch a slight movement out of the corner of my eye.

It gathers speed, the slight movement becomes a blur, and boys yell. The one right under the tree scrambles for safety while the oldest lunges in an attempt to catch it.

The crash is followed by stunned silence. “Oh, man…” one finally says. “Everybody okay?” Mom asks. They nod.

We assess the damage, and it’s less than it sounded and looked. A few broken balls, but nothing serious. The priceless macaroni ornaments made in second grade are still intact.

The boys do a makeshift job of stringing up the tree till Dad gets home. Later, he takes another swipe at it with more fishing line, and the tree makes it through the season.

Christmas is memory-making time. The memories don’t always play out the way we plan, but they’re priceless nonetheless. All four sons remember that night with the same clarity…and chuckle as they do.

What about you? Can you share a Christmas memory that still makes you grin?


Victoria said...

Fun stuff! Thanks for sharing this memory!

rjerdee said...

Hahaha, I can picture it perfectly!

A favorite Christmas memory for me is when we (my five brothers and sisters and I) put on a "Jingle Bells" program for our parents...our microphone was made with a yardstick and two layers of sturdy tin foil that we could raise up and down to make the microphone shorter and taller. Our parents laughed and laughed...not a usual thing :)

Deb said...

I remember getting white-Nancy Sinatra-go-go boots for Christmas.

Have mercy!

Missed you too.

Sweet dreams,

JonathanG said...

I remember this night like it was yesterday...I believe that after it happened, Matthew stated that "his life flashed before his eyes." This is a story I tell to someone new every year...what a great Christmas.a

Julie Gillies said...

This is too funny! I posted about our Christmas tree falling over, too. It's always an adventure, isn't it?

Merry Christmas, my friend!

Michelle DeRusha said...

We've had two crashing trees --both in the middle of the night, scaring the bahooey out of us. The first time my husband skulked down the stairs with a bat. A couple years later, when we woke up to a crash in the middle of the night again, we knew better. Last year we had to wire it to the wall. That's the trouble with the real trees, I guess!

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