Friday, January 6, 2012

Because You Never Know...

I started taking down our Christmas tree last night.  Yes, I know, I'm late.  I just wasn't in the mood on New Year's Day and it hasn't felt like an urgent need.  But I'm getting around to it now.

Un-decorating a tree is sort of like that accounting term, LIFO (last in, first out).  The last decorations to go on the tree have to come off first.  For us, that's always been the tinsel.

As far back as I can remember, tinsel was considered a disposable decoration.  Before Christmas, you bought a box or two of the very inexpensive thin silvery strips; had the usual argument over tossing handfuls at the tree versus carefully placing it one strip at a time; then, when the holiday was over, pulled off the tinsel and dropped the tangled mess in the trash before carefully removing the "real" decorations and packing them away for next year.

Until a couple years ago... when I went out to buy tinsel and couldn't find any.  No one was stocking it.  No one seems to know why.  Had it fallen out of favor with the younger crowd?  Been declared a health risk?  Could only be imported from some country we'd stopped speaking to?  No answer.  So we decorated the tree without tinsel that year, and it never seemed quite finished to me.

Some of you may remember, we lost my dear mum-in-law, Eleanora, in the fall of 2010.  Mama was a woman who had known real hardship and she never took having anything for granted. She was the lady who washed and re-used aluminum foil, saved the wrapping paper off gifts she received, and usually tucked away the gift for "someday". 

As her only family, everything that was hers came to us.  This included her Christmas decorations, most of which she'd not put up in years.  Last Christmas, we divided the fragile glass ornaments between our home and her grandchildrens', so everyone could have memories of her on their tree.  Then we found a long, thin, soft, wrapping of tissue paper.  Inside, carefully laid out so it wouldn't tangle, was a lovely pile of tinsel.  Mama hadn't bought a new box every year like the rest of us.  As always, she saved what she had and used it again. 

So that's what we did.  Last year, Mama's tinsel graced our tree, and was carefully packed away again when Christmas was over.  And it was Mama's tinsel I was carefully removing last night.

Eleanora Leszczuk knew that you took care of what you had, instead of blinding assuming there would always be more. 

She was a very smart lady, don't you think?

Groaner of the Day:  A man rushes into a vet's office, carrying the limp and lifeless body of his beloved pet gopher.

The vet takes the animal and puts it on an examination table.  After examining the limp form, the doctor tells the man that his pet, regrettably is dead.

The man, clearly upset and not willing to accept the obvious, demands a second opinion. So the vet goes into the back room and comes out with a Black Labrador.

The dog sniffs the body, walks from head to tail, and finally looks at the vet and barks. The vet looks at the man and says, "I'm sorry, but the Lab thinks he's is dead too."

The man is still unwilling to accept that his beloved pet is dead. So the vet brings in a Siamese cat and puts the cat down next to the gopher's body.

The Siamese sniffs the body, walks from head to tail, poking and sniffing the gopher's body and finally looks at the vet and meows. The vet looks at the man and says, "I'm sorry, but the Siamese thinks he's dead, too."

The man, finally resigned to the diagnosis, thanks the vet and asks how much he owes. The vet answers,


"$650.00 just to tell me that he's dead?!" exclaims the man.

"Well," the vet replies, "I would only have charged you $50.00 for my initial diagnosis. The additional $600.00 was for the Cat Scan and the Lab Tests."



Angela Brown said...

@ the groaner: Ouch indeed.

Sounds like you knew someone else who could put out a great book for frugal living. I'm glad you have a very special reminder of her that you get to use with love every Christmas Holiday.

Sarah Pearson said...

How lovely that you have memories of your mother on your tree.

Love your groaner :-)

Stacy McKitrick said...

My tree is still up, so you are not alone! I always like to wait until the weekend after New Years, and since New Year's was on Sunday, it didn't come down that day.

I always hated tinsel, though. It got on EVERYTHING, or so it seemed. Yeah, it makes the tree pretty, but I'm all about easy. Or is that lazy? Hmmm.

LD Masterson said...

Angela - It's a shame we couldn't have gotten Eleanora and Maria Z. together.

LD Masterson said...

Sarah - Doubly so, because my dad gave me several of my own mom's favorites when she passed six years ago.

LD Masterson said...

Stacy - Yeah, it gets on everything but the year I didn't have it, the tree just never looked right.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wouldn't have saved the tinsel either but wonderful your mother in law did and left you with something to enjoy. And maybe no one carries it because of what happens when pets eat it...
And that was a groaner! Maybe the gopher ate tinsel.

Sarah Allen said...

Lovely memories. We have a string of bells from my great grandpa that my mother won't let anybody touch except her. I know how special Christmas decorations can be.

Love the groaner :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

She came from a time when things weren't so disposable. Now we throw away everything.

LD Masterson said...

Alex - Love the gopher - tinsel connection!

LD Masterson said...

Sarah - My grown sons roll their eyes when I put up the ornaments they made as children but I wouldn't do the tree without them. All generations go on the tree!

LD Masterson said...

Diane - Sadly true.

Ciara said...

Yes, tinsel has never been a friend to pets, so I think the stores have wised up. I can't stand un-decorating. :)

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

awww, that's awesome.
In one of the many xmas catalogs i get i saw one was selling actual metal tinsel, the kind you can reuse every year. I thought it was pretty cool

Mason Canyon said...

Oh the groaner is priceless today.

Your mother-in-law was definitely a smart lady. We haven't used tinsel in ages either. Now that you mention it, it does make a big difference in how the tree looks. It's wonderful that you have her decorations to use.

BTW, we still have some decorations up too.

Thoughts in Progress

LD Masterson said...

Ciara - Odd, I never had a pet-tinsel problem. But taking down Christmas is my least favorite part of the year.

LD Masterson said...

Sarah - I haven't seen the rl metal tinsel in years. Didn't think anyone made it any more.

LD Masterson said...

Mason - I've spent the afternoon taking everything down. Except the window wreaths. They'll stay up until the end of the month.

Hate to let Christmas go.

Lydia Kang said...

Hee hee hee! I liked this one a lot. :)

LD Masterson said...

Lydia - I'm guessing you mean the groaner. It's an oldie but a goodie.

Maria Zannini said...

This reminds me of my first Christmas as a married person. I saved the tinsel because money was so tight back then. I used it for a couple of years, but then tossed it when I learned it was harmful to pets.

I wonder if that's why they don't make it anymore?

This was a very sweet memory. I think I would've liked Eleanora. :)

Good for you for keeping her memory alive.

Eve said...

Hahahaha! I love the joke! I love corny jokes though, and this one's great! Your mother-in-law sounds like a wonderful lady. It's so nice that you have her decorations, even the tinsel!

LD Masterson said...

Maria - I guess none of our beasties liked tinsel. We never had a problem with it.

LD Masterson said...

Eve - Glad you liked the groaner and welcome to my blog. Thanks for following.