“Being a man is about taking on responsibility,” Dad said to me one day in a low and throaty delivery. “Some day your time will come to prove yourself.”
Thank goodness I was only nine and had a long time to go before proving myself, whatever that meant.
“Michael, I want you to put up the family Christmas tree and decorate it, then take it down at the end of the season,” Mom said to me one day. What? The moment’s here already? And I’m still only nine? And who, me? Given responsibility with tree icicles? Candy canes? AC powered bubble lights? Electricity? I’ll blow up the tree.
After Dad fulfilled his meek part of this year’s tree task – dumping a freshly cut Scotch pine on the basement floor and getting it to stand inside its cheap aluminum base – I initiated my big task.
I smothered the tree in a blinding sheen of bright silver icicles. Then, I covered the pine’s branches with twice their weight in bright ornaments and lights. To top everything off, I placed the heavy star contraption on the uppermost branch, bending it over like a week-old carrot. But it was fun standing on a tall ladder trying to get the wimpy limb to stand straight. When else had I been allowed to use a tall ladder?
I stood back, assessed my completed tree design, slapped my hands together and smirked. Responsibility wasn’t so bad after all – more like pure merriment! Decorating was art, and I loved it. Perhaps the best part was being allowed to create my tree masterpiece without being overseen, especially by Dad. It was all endless joy.
Ten fifteen, Christmas morning and poof, Christmas was cooked.
Once the last gift had been unwrapped, the entire holiday season was a memory. No more anticipation, no more unbridled glee. With all the weeks of preparation and festivities concluded, surely Mom wouldn’t make me take the tree down now, would she? Would she?
To be continued December 28th with my next installment of “Stories From Maybe Boomer.”