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On the Move

On the Move: 2014 has arrived, but I plan to let the holidays linger just a little longer

Sitting in a darkened room with only the multicolored lights aglow from my fake Christmas tree arouses memories.

In my childhood, Santa brought and decorated the tree. We didn’t see it until Christmas morning. We were also told that if Santa saw you or even heard you, he’d take your gifts back to the North Pole and you’d never see them.

One year, my sister conned me into creeping downstairs in the middle of the night to see if Santa had come. As we, silently as possible, descended the stairs, we heard a loud popping noise come from the vicinity of our living room fireplace (no doubt a dying ember). Sure that it was Santa we had heard, we beat it back to our beds hoping he hadn’t seen or heard us. We were relieved and grateful in the morning to see packages under the tree.

I had not had a Christmas with my new husband when we shared our first one together. Although we would spend the day with our families, I thought we should have our own tree. I could get a small tree at the supermarket for $2.98 and asked my husband if we could do that. He answered, brusquely, I thought, “Just leave Christmas trees to me.” Later that day, he arrived home with a perfect tree, just the right size for our little apartment. That was when I learned that his mother had said he didn’t need a Christmas tree after he’d given up Santa, at age 7, and he hadn’t had once since then, but did from then on. Each year they got bigger and bigger. One year, our tree was so big that about a third of it had to be chopped off for it to get into our house.

I never cared if the tree had a perfect shape, but many people I know do. A neighbor of mine recently visited a tree farm and picked out a tree to be cut later. It was to cost $85. Headed back to his car, he saw one he liked better, which caused a hassle on the farm. My neighbor left and found one elsewhere for half that price.

A friend tells how his family always had a live tree, its roots bound in burlap so it could be planted after the holidays.

One year, they decided they would cut one of their own trees. They chose one and tied a ribbon around the trunk so they’d remember which one they’d chosen. When they decided that it was time to bring in the tree, their chosen one was gone. Someone had come in the night and stolen their tree.

My friend Dan took pleasure in having a Snoopy tree – a few scraggly branches, decorated with a few measley ornaments.

We each do it our own way and collect our individual memories.

The most recent holidays are now history. I never like putting my tree back in its red plastic bag for another year, so I’ll enjoy it for another week or so before I look back over 2013 and ahead to 2014.

In 2013, I became aware that when people say, “elderly,” they mean me. I have given my beloved skis to a grandson’s girlfriend. I don’t hike the mountains anymore or travel or entertain my friends.

I can and do drive my car, buy food, cook my meals, knit for great-grandchildren, vacuum, clean and wash the kitchen floor.

This week I ordered a hearing aid and booked a young man to shovel my snow.

I take two new pills and naps.

In 2014, I hope to snowshoe in the park instead of on mountain trails, try out a new volunteer job, visit my shut-in friends, meet my new great-grandson, attend the wedding of my number 4 grandson and have better luck growing tomatoes.

My wish for you all: a healthy, happy new year.

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