During my first vacation home from college, Mom gave me the job of pruning one of our spruce trees. I sawed off a branch, which was nearly an entire tree by itself, and I towed it into the house to show Mom.
"Let's make this our Christmas tree," I said. "I can tie it to the stair banister. See, it's tall and pretty full. At least on one side." It was totally flat on the other side.
Mom liked the idea, so we tied the branch to the banister and stared at it for a minute. "It needs something," Mom said.
"Well," I said, "there are some more branches that could be pruned. They'll fill out the tree."
Mom and I walked out to the spruce tree, and I showed her the other branches that didn't belong to the main trunk. "Make it so," she said.
Later back inside, we pushed five different branch ends into a bucket of water and tied them to the main branch, grafting them into the tree as a whole.
"Looks wonderful," Mom said. "Let's decorate it right now and surprise your Dad."
I hung my ten-year-old Cub Scout ornament and perched my tiny red birdie on the wing of the angel that always tops the tree. But there was this nagging gap on the right of the tree that needed special attention. When I hung my bendable Santa on a golden garland that crossed the gap, Mom got out her painting stuff.
"This is the best, most creative Christmas tree ever," she exclaimed. "I'm going to paint it so I can look at it all year."
Yup, our tree was pretty great. We placed the blue chairs in front of the tree, sat down to wait for Dad, and shared the gift of each other's Christmas Presence.
Happy music and art, Cinder LeDell
Stories in Paint by Cinder LeDell © 1994