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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum…

Good morning, Netizens...


Good morning, Netizens...


For most of the year, it lives in the deepest most-depraved corner of our basement, in a little-used closet space beneath the basement stairs, somewhat adjacent to the hot water heater. Each year, in my experience, it is reverently disassembled and put in a pasteboard box for yet another year, and returned to that space from which it was brought forth. It is our Christmas Tree, and although previous to my marriage to Suzie, over a decade ago, I had always used a living evergreen, cut freshly each year and installed triumphantly in its place of honor. Thus it was decorated and once Christmas was over, the ornaments were unceremoniously put back in their boxes for yet another year, and in lean years, the dead tree was used for firewood.


Suzie has taught me the importance of traditions, such as a Christmas Tree that lives, unseen and unspoken, in a dark and foreboding place in our basement rather than on some Stevens County back road hillside. Actually our Christmas tree has little to do with its faux pine tree exterior. When we first were married, the Christmas ornaments came carefully packed in two large pasteboard boxes, mostly hand-wrapped in newspaper, some in their original boxes. The tree even lives in a box of its own. Nearly all of them have historical significance, although to ordinary people or visitors, the significance of the history involved depends upon how well you know our families.


Some of the baubles and decorations are antiques, or at least qualify themselves as being old enough to remember each bauble's lineage, which may involve invoking the name(s) of the various deceased members of the family from which they came, or the various geological places on the planet where they were purchased. If you went to Billy Bob's Drive-In Restaurant in wind-blasted god forsaken Kemmerer, Wyoming for a quick bite to tide you over on your long jaunt to Nebraska, where all godly citizens are born and raised, and if you happen to see a trinket beneath the glass counter that is calling your name, it might be hanging beneath our tree, waiting to have its story told to some unsuspecting person. Complete, of course, with the denouement that you nearly died of ptomaine poisoning from eating a sludge burger at Billy Bob's, of course. You didn't know that when you impulsively bought the bauble that says, “Kemmerer, Wyoming, Gateway to the sublime”, but the story of your experiences out on the grasslands of Wyoming lives on, hanging mutely upon our tree.


Every Christmas Tree must have an angel atop its spire, and our Christmas tree vastly outdoes them all when it comes to sheer tawdry cheek with just enough of a touch of the celestial to make it part of the deepest meanings of the Yuletide. As ethereal and mystical as the old angel looks, however, women, in particular angels, haven't worn gowns like that in multiple decades, which is about how old our angel is. Before you ask, however, our angel atop our Christmas Tree, has an all-knowing smirk on her face that suggests she has seen over forty Christmases come and go and thus she has seen it all, and no, she doesn't wear knickers. No self-respecting angel atop a Christmas Tree should need to be worried about such things.




Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.