The Christmas Tree I ordered on eBay did not arrive until December 24. I had been having conversations with the seller by email trying to locate the thing. She had shipped it on Dec. 8 and had the tracking number, but the tree was nowhere to be found. By the 2oth I had given up and decided it must be permanently lost. Then, heralded by the furious barking of the dogs, the mailman stuffed it between the doors on the morning of Christmas Eve. Since I was busy getting ready for our holiday meal, I had time only to set it up and take a look at it. It was smaller than I had thought, but handsome nonetheless--the perfect size to put on the table in the living room.
On Christmas morning I dug out the box of decorations I had put in my bedroom closet and brought them downstairs. While I was talking to Mike on the phone, I put all the strands of lights I had on the tree. I had seven long strands since I have had bigger trees in the past, so I was anticipating a tree beautifully covered with lights. Indeed, when I got through the tree looked like a pile of green wire. I plugged the last wire into the extension cord and to my great disappointment only a small number of the bulbs came on. Slightly disheartened, I decided to leave the duds in place, thinking they would be obscured by other decorations. I put a few strings of garland on the tree and then had to finish my preparations for the dinner that night.
Yesterday morning, despite the fact that Christmas was over, I felt compelled to finish the tree. Thelma had sent me some decorations, and I had bought three new ones from the Animal Resue Site. They had been on the counter in my studio for weeks, but I had moved them recently to make more room and couldn't remember what I had done with them. I searched and searched, knowing only that what I had done was purposeful, that they had not disappeared randomly. Trying to imagine where I would have stored them, I looked in drawers, on shelves, in cupboards. I repeatedly looked where I had last seen them, unable to believe they were not there. There is no such thing as giving up when I am looking for something, and I extended the search to include under tables and behind bookcases. Eventually I found them, neatly packed in a small box between the wall and the washing machine, under pile of styrofoam Sydney had given me.
With all my ornaments therefore at the ready, I decided to remove all the non-working lights and start from scratch. I stripped the tree and spent a good hour or more untangling the strands of lights. Three of them worked and I placed them on the tree. I replaced the garland. I hung each ornament with care, finding as I unpacked them that mice had used many of the cloth decorations for nests, nibbling on the wings of angels and Santa hats. The idea pleased me, picturing them at work with their tiny hands, thrilled with the bonanza they had found. After only one accident when the tree fell over, spilling its garland, my work was done. By then it had been dark for a few hours and the lighted tree looked great. I felt a tremendous sense of closure. The Christmas tree had fulfilled its destiny, albeit the day after Christmas.