Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Did you know that ornaments are expensive? Oh. But of course you knew. I was late on that bandwagon. I have gone to Bed Bath and Beyond, Ross, Ace Hardware, and the grocery store, and all of these places have ornaments. The problem is that they are either quite pricey or just plain UGLY. I wish I had taken a picture of some of the things I saw. Two words come to mind: cheese and ball. Wait, make it three words: cheese, ball, and 1972. This is probably my fault - I must not be going to the right stores.

I did find one place where I really loved the ornaments: Sur La Table. And it seems they are having a sale right now! Holy cow, I just may have to splurge and get a little copper teapot right this minute. And definitely the red cheese grater. But still, unless I bought 20 of them, our little Christmas tree from upstate New York would still be a bit sparse. So, what to do?

Solutions come in all shapes and sizes, and tonight, they came in the shapes of cranberries and popcorn.

Here's our tiny tree. We love her.

And the tree skirt? Here's the story behind that gem: Abigail (MOH in my wedding) and I were at her family's ranch in Walnut Springs, Texas during one of my many visits to their ranch during our high school years. There was a house on their property that had been abandoned since 1993 (we know this because we found magazines, Christmas cards and coins in the house, and the latest date we found was 1993... we were detectives, you see.) The house was and is called Tara -- like Scarlett O'Hara's plantation from Gone with the Wind -- and the name was certainly fitting for this home: huge, white, ominous, solemn, maybe haunted -- not from ghosts of the Civil War like the fictional Tara, but from what felt like an erie, hurried abandonment. The house had been utterly untouched for 10 years, but it felt like someone was going to open the door at any moment and brush his teeth, take a shower, and cook a meal. There was dental floss in the bathroom drawer, clothes in the closets, sheets on the beds, and logs in the fireplace. Yet everything was OLD. Ten years is quite a while for things to go untouched. Naturally, Abigail and I were enthralled.

While walking through the upstairs, I happened to open a hall closet and discover two beautifully patched, bright and bold-colored, twin-sized quilts. Oh wow. Oh the colors! Abs look at this! I gawked and squawked and ooooed and ahhhed. Something about patchwork quilts get to me -- the colors, the patterns, the oldness, the effort it takes to make them --  and that was the first time I realized I love quilts. I now have 4 of them in my apartment, which is a lot considering the limited space we have.

I didn't really think too much about those quilts after that. Several months later, it was my birthday and Abigail came over with a birthday present. Oooo! A present. I opened it up and lo and behold, she had remembered how much I loved those quilts and had gotten one of them dry-cleaned (probably twice because those quilts were dirrrty) and wrapped it up for me. What a gift I will always treasure from a dear friend. And will also use as a darn-good Christmas tree skirt.

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