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Carol Perkins: Life's Chapters, Five - The Tree

Previous Chapter: Carol Perkins: Life's Chapters, Four - Parades and Santa

By Carol Perkins

Finding the "right" tree was never easy. My mother was very particular, I watched my daddy drag a couple of trees through the field and stand them in the yard. She circled them until one met her approval. The rejected ones we used for decorations/wreaths. I thought I could make a circle from a wire coat hanger, wrap the cedar around the circle, and have a Martha Stewart moment. I never created a masterpiece.

My daddy filled a bucket with rocks until the tree stood, and then backed it gently toward the wall. No one had a "bought" tree stand. Our decorations were the same every year. Colorful (breakable) ornaments, silver tinsel, lights with large, colorful bulbs, and icicles tossed at random. The result was beautiful, especially at night in the dark.

The tree in my classrooms over the years was as festive as the one at home.

A couple of older boys (with or without an adult) wandered over the hill and through the woods behind the elementary school to cut a tree. On whose property that tree stood didn't seem to be a consideration. We students made decorations, but the teacher usually added some from her home collection. Every day I lost myself in the magic of the tree and the feeling of Christmas. I can't explain that feeling, but it was joyful and peaceful. It still is.

We drew names, bought the teacher a gift, and exchanged gifts with a few friends. On the last day of school before vacation, we had a program in the "big" building, which was once the high school and then became the "middle school" before that expression was popular. We sang "Away in the Manager" and "Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem" and no one protested. Santa showed up with candy canes and the school system gave us sacks with fruit and chewing gum. It was a glorious time to be a child.

Coming up next: Chapter Six - Church Programs

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2021-12-16 09:57:48
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