Aside

A Thinking Back Kind of Time

 

   There is definitely something about Christmas that starts memories flowing.  Not necessarily Christmassy memories…just family kinds of things.

   For some reason or other, this one came popping into my head the other day and it amused me mightily so I decided to share it with all of you, my lucky and indulgent readers.

   One after noon, many, many years ago, one of my boys came home from second grade class at St. Agnes’ School.  He said he had a question for me.

   Now I was determined to be one of those mothers who respected a child’s question.  If he could think of it, I would answer it. 

   “Right,” I said, sitting down next to him on the couch…”tell me your question.”  So he did.

   “What,” he said, “is  upholstery?”

   Not quite what I expected.  But okay.  If that was his question I would give it a shot.

   “Well,” I said, “Let’s look at this couch we’re sitting on.”  We did that.

   “First,” I explained, “The workman builds the inside of the couch.  Then he puts in springs and lots of padding so you can sit comfortably.  You with me so far.”

    He was.

   Okay, so far I’m a big success here.

  “Padding, you know, is just a bunch of heavy material that goes on the springs so they don’t poke you when you sit down.  It isn’t really pretty enough to want it in  your living room.  So the workman now takes some really nice fabric and adds it to the top of the couch.  Sort of like what we’re sitting on now.”

   He nodded and patted the couch reassuringly.  It’s pretty Mom.”

 

   I grinned back at him.  Delighted that my little lecture was so successful

   But then came the rest of the question.

   “So what,” Anthony ask, “does Sister mean when she says “Thou shalt not commit upholstery?”

 

                     ******************

 

       THE TALE OF THE HANGING CHRISTMAS TREE

 

   It all happened because I was too busy to go with the family to picked out the tree.  But it had to be done that day and the Father figure had agreed to supervise the choice.,

  You’d think I’d know better wouldn’t you?

   Anyway..the four kids and Daddy left to bring home the perfect tree.  Their instructions were clear.  Big and bushy, but not so bushy it won’t take ornaments.  Tall, but not so tall that it brushes the ceiling because we need room for the Angel.

   I had more instructions, but the natives were getting restless.  I wished them well and went back to unpacking the trimmings.

   Three hours later, tired but triumphant. The family returned dragging a big, beautiful, aromatic tree.

   From first glance I knew it was, indeed, perfect  But then they stood it up so I could see in in all its glory.

   They stood back and waited for my reaction.

   “It’s BENT” I said.

   They all began their protests at the same moment.            “What?  “What do you mean BENT?”  “It’s perfect.”

   The Father, who did not like arguments unless he started them, told everyone to stop immediately or he would throw the tree out the door.

   Silence reigned while we all stood and looked at the bent tree.  At this point Lancer, our beautiful German Shepherd joined the fray barking furiously and racing madly around the room. 

 

   He actually worried me more than the kids.  He was eyeing the tree as if it were an indoor fire hydrant.

   The kids stared at the tree and then at me…glumly.

   “What do you want to do about it Mm?”  one of them asked.

   The tree stood quite still..looking unloved and crooked.

   And that was when I had an epiphany.

   “We’ll hang it from the ceiling.  That way it will be  as straight as it can be, Lancer won’t be able to knock it  over and the cat probably won’t try to climb it.”

   And so it was done.

   We suspended the tree from the center of the cathedral ceiling in the family room where it swung free and sparkled every time Lancer raced under it, sending it spinning.

   I found it a logical and practical and beautiful solution.  The kids thought it was great because nobody else had a hanging Christmas tree.

   However…one of my neighbors stopped in to tell me that, while she, too,  liked the idea of the hanging tree, some others did not.

   She said I shouldn’t worry about it because she set them all straight,

“I just tell them, it’s okay, they’re in Show Business.”

 

Apparently that explains everything.