Thursday, December 29, 2016
THE DAY THE CHRISTMAS TREE FELL OVER
This is is one of those memories that you look back on and laugh about....in about 20 years AFTER the incident. It'll take that long for me to recover.
Our delightful, much-loved daughter-in-law parents 5 children, holds down 2-3 full time jobs, mentors untold number of young women, volunteers at her church and basically keeps her household running with an all too absent husband. In years past she'd placed packages around a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" and everyone was happy with that!
SO...this past Thanksgiving weekend we were surprised and delighted to see her beautifully decorated 12 foot REAL Christmas tree filling the huge window of her living room. Somehow she'd found the time to put it all together in a big way! Behind the tree was an unbelievable view of the snow covered Colorado mountains. It was a scene worthy of a Hallmark card.
She had purchased the living tree, somehow got it to the house, enlisted a little help to get it up the stairs and standing erect. It was gorgeous! All the decorations she'd been storing for years were dusted off and meticulously hung on just the right branches to artfully display them. There were Santa's, glass orbs, framed pictures of her kiddos, snowmen, moose, small lights and more. Everyone in the family was impressed and she was rightfully very proud of this beauty. It shouted Merry Christmas in that warm lovely place.
She and her husband, (our firstborn) took off for several days to a friends wedding and we were placed in charge of the house, five kiddos, two dogs and one cat, and did I mention THE Christmas tree. What an opportunity to enjoy the family in the "snow globe" environment of their beautiful
CO mountain town.
After a couple of days, Honeybuns had to leave to get back to Dallas to his job and I was left for a couple of days, enjoying the kids solo. Everything was going remarkably well....UNTIL.....
I enlisted Gabby to help me "water" the Christmas tree. She eagerly agreed.
She filled her plastic glass of water and scooted under the tree. To oversee the task I bent down to help lift some of the lower branches of the tree UP so she would have better access to the container holding that magnificent trunk.
Without warning, fanfare, crack or wiggle....that tree SLOWLY fell away from my hand. That TALL beauty went down as if a lumberjack had struck a final blow with an ax.
My life flashed before my eyes. Gabby's eyes flashed out of her head!
There was a tremendous crash as the tree hit the coffee table and then the floor. Glass ornaments went flying and shattered on the hearth of the wood burning stove. The tip of the tree was nearly touching that hot iron.
I'm sure I was yelling, OH! NO! Gabby was just yelling. Dax was yelling. Others came running, immediately STUNNED at the sight. It was a catastrophe!!
I grabbed Dax by the arm, urged him (not very politely) to stop screaming and help me get the tree upright. I remember saying, very calmly, "It's alright kids, this kind of thing happens ALL the time. We'll fix it." ( Thinking to myself, I've NEVER seen this happen in all my years and I had NO idea how we were going to fix this!)
Dax and I pushed and I recall saying to anyone that would listen, "I hope there's not a squirrel in there." No one present remembered the National Lampoons Christmas Vacation at that moment but ME!!
We got it up, crooked up upright, and accessed the damage. The front side was pretty smashed, lights hanging out all over, broken ornaments all over the floor and the stunning glass star at the top was hanging about halfway down looking as if it was suffering a hangover! Oh, No!!
Meanwhile Gabby continued to wail, "MOMMA IS GOING TO KILL US!"
Me, "NO, she will not kill us." Gabby, "You don't know my momma, she's going to kill us."
Me, " I DO know your momma and she's not going to kill us."
It went on that way for a while!
Trying to calm everyone down, I said, while smiling, "OK kids, we're going to put on some Christmas music and RE-DECORATE the tree."
Maggie explained that it was no longer in the center of the window and was leaning to the left!
We crammed the Christmas tree skirt under one leg and straightened it, a little! There was no way it was going to get RE-CENTERED. And there she stood, looking like a "lady of the evening," trying very hard to be her former elegant self, but in much disarray!
We re-hung the ornaments that had survived the ordeal, fluffed up the branches, and crammed the lights back into the tree. Nothing could be done about the sad star, it hung limply.
Life continued for the next couple of days and before long it was my time to return to Dallas. I kissed everyone goodbye and wished them luck. Gabby's words echoed in my mind all the way to the Denver airport, "Momma is going to kill us." Thinking to myself, she would be justified if she did.!!
A couple of weeks went by, SILENCE. No mention from the kids or their parents about the felling of the great tree.
We returned to CO to celebrate Christmas with them a few weeks later. Andy met us at the airport and I finally got the nerve to ask him, "Did you hear the story about the Christmas tree?" He laughed! Yep! Gabby and Dax squealed...and "Mom, they threw you under the bus! All they could say was, BeBe did it, BEBE DID IT!! It was the cry of desperation, trying to save their lives, no doubt!
I met Jamie at the house and after hugs and greetings, presented her with a box of New special ornaments I'd carried on the plane. "This is my peace offering, for wrecking your beautiful tree. I am SO sorry."
She laughed as she hung them on the still discombobulated tree. "The kids had quite a story."
I begged, "Can I tell you my version?" It was identical! It WAS my fault.
And I was VERY grateful that she said, "No big deal!"
Really? (Now I ask you dear reader, "WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOUR MOTHER IN LAW WRECKED YOUR BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS TREE?")
Talk about grace! What a Christmas gift!!!
Papa got the ladder out and re-positioned the magnificent star. It was once again BEAUTIFUL!
In 20 years we'll laugh about this. But THIS year, I'm very thankful for GRACE and a very forgiving daughter-in-law. She didn't kill anyone!
Isn't that the Christmas story? We celebrate the gift we don't deserve!