Once again, the family tree has been trimmed. The lights are all on, courtesty of Cody, a six-foot-plus adopted son. I think we will keep him around for just this purpose. I was thinking a lot about the 'tree' last week, actually dreading the acquiring of, and then the decorating that comes after and seems to take forever. I was feeling a little out of sorts, observing all the beautiful and perfect trees that I was seeing in my midst. Cassidy works for a design firm and I am reminded everytime I pick her up just how beautiful professionally decorated trees are. However, last night, after the First Presidency Devotional, Eli's enthusiasm overtook me, and we decided to do the tree deed. As I pulled out all of the ornaments from over 25 years of life together, I was reminded that beautiful trees LOOK good, but trees like ours FEEL good. It is full of wonderful memories, each one invoking a smile or a laugh, or even a tear or two. The tree in all of it's glory. Yes, it's real, and yes it does smell wonderful. Phillip got rid of our fake trees years ago, citing the case, "We are denying our children one of the best scents of the season." I have to say I have a tendency to agree. An evergreen candle just doesn't cut it!
My dear friend and fellow radio station employee, Wayne Richards, passed away unexpectedly this fall. These bumper stickers were circulating around town after his death. "Drive safely" was his way of saying to listeners and friends, "Be careful. I love you." I felt it very appropriate to find a place on our tree this year for a remembrance of a friend. May you and yours also, "Drive Safely" this holiday season.
No tree of mine would be complete without a touch of Mary Englebreit. Thanks to Miss Peg, each year a new "Mary" treasure is added to be enjoyed and loved. This one is my favorite!
When I was growing up my brother and I had a dog. J.J. the poodle. J for Joy and J for John. She was THE BEST DOG EVER for almost 14 years of my life. The day we had to put her to sleep was the first time I ever felt a loss of a pet. I've felt it several times since, but never as strongly. Now that John is gone, this ornament is just a little reminder of those fun days we had together, sister, brother, and dog.
Speaking of pets, we have a cat and her name is Gracie. She's really Princess Grace, but we shortened it down for convenience in calling her name when she is lost, which is quite frequently. We got her on a farm in Lehi when Cassidy was about 3, so we've almost had her 15 years. Most people don't see Gracie; she has a phobia for strangers. If you are at our house and you do catch aglimpse of her, count yourself lucky. It means she thinks you are safe, or you are in the way of her food. So, to celebrate her existence (or non-existence) we have some gray cat ornaments on the tree just for her. Sidenote: Our Gracie the cat doesn't wear clothes. We aren't THAT eccentric!