Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My Mom posted a picture of her Christmas tree on Facebook.

rents xmas tree

Now some might wax poetic about certain ornaments on this tree: "Oh look at the picture of little T. Bud hugging Fudgey the bear!" (At least I think his name was Fudgey...something along those confectionery lines).

But I remember the day that tree came home.

It's fake--obviously.

Circa 1988 is when my parents stopped buying real trees after the last one they bought pretty much lost all of its needles by Christmas.

I don't exactly remember if we bought the fake tree pre- or post-Christmas but it was the way it came home that makes me skip down memory lane.

My mother is pretty even keel. I don't recall her really getting too riled up except as to what would be expected of a stay at home mother of six kids born in a 10 year window.

Keep that little tidbit in mind.

Another integral part of my childhood is a chronology of various "family cars" we drove. Each one was special and each one had it's own nickname.

When we bought this tree, we were riding around in Vanna Green.

Vanna was an 8 passenger 1975 Dodge van that my dad bought at a military auction. She was a decommissioned Army van.

She had NO interior panels (it was just you, a piece of metal and then the road--none of this fancy upholstery you have in cars!), the heat didn't really function that well, if at all (so if you sat in the back seat like I did, you would have to curl up under blankets to keep warm), and there for a time her transmission was kaput to the point where she wouldn't go in reverse. That was always fun--parking in spots you didn't have to back out of!

One of her other quirks was you could only open both of the back doors from the inside of the van. You could get one door open from the outside, but not the other.

So if you had groceries you were bringing home--you had to have someone stand in the back seat, lean over precariously and open the other door for you.

Cut to the day my Mom decides it's time to quit rolling the dice on Alaskan Scrawny Christmas trees or trees that have presumably been on semi trucks up to Alaska since Halloween--just ready to lose all their needles.

She scores the beauty you see in the picture above, and we load the large box into the back of the van and drive home.

And then we get home.

And, do you see where this story is going?

We could open ONE SIDE of the back doors, but not both doors.

The way the tree box was in there, one couldn't do the typical lean-over-the-back-seat and open the door move because the tree box was covering the handle to open the door.


I have never heard my my mother swear that much in my life. Even to this day.

There were various maneuvers to get that second door open attempted--including something involving a long handled ice-scraper I believe.

In the end, we had to open the box (which leaning over the back seat wasn't itself too easy to do) and carry each piece of the tree in bit-by-bit.

Then I believe she was able to cut the bottom of the box so it folded flatish and get it out of poor old Vanna Green, where she brought it inside, taped it back up and repacked the brand new Christmas tree.

And to me, that is what makes my parents' Christmas tree special--the memory of my mother swearing like a sailor get that thing out of our crappy ass van!

What's your favorite (kooky if you have it) holiday memory?



Blogger Ellie said...

That's genius :)
My favourite part of the season is trying to figure out what will be the annual Boodean Family Argument, and how stupid it will be. One year it was the fact that I decided to cut my waist length hair and dye it blonde; several family members gave me the silent treatment. My favourite, though, was the year that Dad got Mom a dark green leather jacket (it was the '90s and colored leather/suede was in). Hers was amazing... then he opened his gift, which was a (you guessed it) leather jacket for him. Very stylish, forest green (hahaha)... and he flipped his lid because it was 'too much, too expensive, not practical'. He insisted on returning it, and never quite figured out why we laughed about it so much :-))

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes! Is my face RED!!!!!! I have sworn a bit but not like I did then.

Now DON'T YOU go swearing!!

Love, Mom

12:22 AM  
Blogger Krysstyllanthrox said...

Mine is a memory that is something of a tradition now.

Mom always forgets at least one present. We will all be sitting around, pretty much done opening gifts, and Mom's face will be scrunched up as she counts/remembers what she bought. One of us usually asks "Who did you forget this year?" She will sheepishly admit and then spend the next 20 minutes trying to remember where she hid presents.

It is now hilarious to us (since we are grown) and a cherished part of Christmas morning. Even if she doesn't forget, we always ask to make sure after we are done with presents.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

The year I was clever and boxed up all the clothing gifts and put initials on the boxes so that when I wrapped them, I'd know who they belonged to. Well, I managed to mix up the tags and spend quite a bit of time saying "Wait, that's not yours" after someone opened their gift. I am much more careful now!

7:04 AM  
Blogger Crafty Christina said...

Great story!

My mom is a neat freak and usually runs around grabbing paper off the floor (or right out of your hand) as you unwrap. One year, a few gift cards went missing and no one knew what happened. Someone figured that mom probably threw them away with all the paper in her rush to clean. So we spent a chunk of time digging through the garbage looking for them. Ahh fmaily quirks!

7:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

What a great story, LOL! I'm impressed that your Mom's tree has held up all these years. I've lost count of how many artificial trees I've had to replace over the years.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Birdie said...

Haha! I have very faint memories of buying that tree. I think we were in Carrs, right? It's probably one of my first memories, considering I was 2. That is HILARIOUS! I had no idea that Mom swore like a sailor to get that tree out of Vanna Green (later painted yellow with black around the windshield and renamed "The Killer Bee.") I have often told Jeff (he doesn't swear in front of his mom) that Mom rarely to never swore in front of us kids, but as we got older and are now adults, I hear swears peppered here and there. Haha!

12:53 AM  

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