Monday, January 2, 2012

putting my friends away

I took all the ornaments off the two Christmas trees today. We'll leave the trees up, the white pine with lights, the spruce bare, for a while longer.

Putting away the ornaments and the decorations is a time of reminiscence for me.

We still have half a dozen or so of the ornaments that hung on my childhood trees. They are remarkably 'dated' but I love them all.

We have the ornament I bought in Georgetown with raggedy Ann and raggedy Andy on it (though it is more tape now than ornament) and sent in the Bern where she was getting her hair cut to let her know the rabbit had died (I don't know if a rabbit died or not, but the pregnancy test was positive with Josh). This was around Christmas in 1974 and after I dropped her off at the hair stylist, I found a pay phone and called for the results of the test. (No cell phones in 1974, Virginia.) Then I went to a bar and had shots and beers. Bern didn't get the message and came tearing out to the waiting room, one half her hair nearly to her waist, the other half almost gone with the stylist on her heels, to find out what it meant. I thought it was obvious, but she didn't. I started to tell her the good news but I was one shot and one beer too far over the line. Finally she understood. She drove home to Alexandria and I had a nap.

There are carved olive wood ornaments I brought back from Israel in the 90's.

There are lots of homemade ornaments and crocheted snow flakes. Lots of Lions and Santa's and religious stuff. Plus some very kitchy things.

One tree each year is devoted to things that fly--birds and angels and the inexplicable flying elephant we got somewhere and the wondrous Hindu looking goddess with wings and fairies and other things. Most of the birds are very fragile so I wrap each one in paper before putting it in the box.

We even keep old ornaments that can't be hung anymore that are meaningful. Most of all, the little lame balloon man like in the e.e.cummings poem.

They really are friends I seen a week or so a year. I handle them with care and love them mightily.

I also have human friends I don't see much. I hope I handle them with the same care and love.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.