30 November 2008

grandad's Star

Ten years ago, celebrating our first Christmas together, my new bride and I looked high and low for a star, or angel, or something while on our honeymoon to adorn the top of our first Christmas tree. Nothing we saw really called to us.

So as the day approached for getting the tree, my wife finally asked, well, what about that old star you had? "Grandpa's star?" I asked. I ended up with the star that had been on my grandparents' tree because my folks thought a bachelor pad needed a Christmas tree and dropped one off, fully decorated and waiting for me to get home from work one day.

My grandparents' star isn't anything spectacular. It has a little gold glitter, a few lights and gold tinsel. The light in the center hasn't worked the past eight Christmases, but that was ok. It reminded me of all those family Christmases at my favorite grandparents' home. All those memories the nearly 40 year old star shone down on, from about the time I was on the scene.
40 years. I remember it atop the simple little tree tucked into the corner of my grandparents' living room, there on the farm where two, then three, then four generations of the family gathered. I remember the chaos as we tried to cram over 40 people into the little farmhouse. I remember the smell of sweet potatoes and ham. I remember cousins being home for the holidays, grandma's canned pickles and homemade fudge. Outside of the memories, only the star I have from those Christmases. And maybe like the Bethlehem star pointed the way two thousand years ago, grandad's star points the way to a past I pray I never forget.

With the exception of the light in the center, and a little loss of tinsel, the star was in good shape and I always held my breath each year I plugged it in, hoping it would light again. As we began decorating the tree we got Friday, I plugged in the star.......and this time it didn't light. My heart sunk. I pushed in each of the little gold bulbs, making sure there was contact and it came on, then went out, then came on again. Whew. I placed it at the top of the tree and this time it didn't light. I took it down and messed with it a little; it still didn't light.

So, our tree has no star yet this year. I'm afraid that it won't be an easy fix because to get to any of the wiring, much of the tinsel and glitter will need to be compromised. It will be a delicate surgery, but I'm pretty adamant now that the star has to stick around. Do you have that favorite ornament or decoration that has been with you all these years?

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