Nothing riled Nora more than Jonathan putting up the artificial Christmas tree crooked. Year after year it would be crooked; just on a slight angle; not much mind you, but just enough for Nora to notice it every time she passed. The tree would go up on Thanksgiving.
The glittering baubles hung on a small but observable angle. Each year Nora would wait for Jonathan to leave the house and no sooner had he gone than she would crawl underneath the tree with a small plastic clothes peg and poke it in the Christmas tree stand against the trunk to make the tree perfectly upright.
Then when she went out herself she would return only to find the peg had gone. It had been taken out and the tree was once again on the tiniest angle. Nora knew exactly what she would get Jonathan for Christmas; something he seemed to want so much: some clothes pegs from the dollar shop.
This ritual had gone on for years. In fact, it had become a Thanksgiving Day tradition. I forgot to mention that Nora and Jonathan were next door neighbours – I suppose you thought they were wife and husband. They had been neighbours for over forty years, and both widowed for about ten. Thanksgiving was a time for them to help each other put up the Christmas decorations. Then as the evening approached – they always observed the day in the evening – their respective families would arrive in each household for the celebration.
This year however it was going to be different. Both families were meeting at Nora’s house to celebrate an accepted marriage proposal.
Happy Thanksgiving to my USA readers and their families – and anyone else who happens to be thankful!
Eva had three daughters and a son. Their names were Jill, Lyn, Rosemary, and Phil. Each had a special Christmas decoration with their name on it. Each year they hung it on the Christmas tree. Eva had made each decoration herself on each child’s first Christmas.
And now the family had all grown up and the three daughters were married with children of their own. Eva made a special Christmas tree decoration for every grandchild.
But tragedy struck. Phil, her only son, was killed in a war. Christmas came. Eva didn’t know what to do with his Christmas decoration. It’s not that she didn’t want him remembered; she simply didn’t want to make Christmas sad for her three daughters and their children when they called on Christmas Eve. Eva left Phil’s Christmas decoration in the cupboard.
Jill arrived. “Where’s Phil’s decoration?” she asked upon seeing the tree.
Lyn arrived. “Where’s Phil’s decoration?” she asked upon seeing the tree.
Rosemary arrived. “Where’s Phil’s decoration?” she asked upon seeing the tree.
Mother and three daughters hung the decoration in pride of place, and all had a little weep.
Every year since, it’s always been the last decoration to be hung. Always on Christmas Eve. And always accompanied by a little weep.