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The Christmas Tree

By Rick Johnson  Posted by Michael Bonanno (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 5 pages)   No comments
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Fictional Short Story


Rick Johnson 

Many, many years ago - it brings happiness now to think back that far – two young people were married. Because of war they spent their first Christmas thousands of miles apart.  It would be the only Christmas they would be apart. 

The next Christmas was joyous because they were together. A Christmas tree was procured and the man bought some typical lights and three boxes of blue glass ornaments. (He had seen a display in a store window which had looked very sophisticated). It was a nice tree, and his pretty wife smiled and loved him. But, one day she would have her own tree. 

Another Christmas came and went. The young wife added some ornaments, lights, and sewed some special stocking for kids unnamed. The husband was surprised because on the next tree she hung these hand-made and unique ornaments. Like "mushrooms" on a Christmas Tree?  But they were very special to her. And he loved her very much. 

The couple had been blessed with the sweetest little girl, cutest little boy, and snuggliest little white dog.  Only the first two were the work of the couple. Each Christmas, as they grew from tiny tots, the spirit of Christmas focused around their tree. You could see the anticipation in their eyes, feel the joy in their hearts, and see the happiness as each  ( in their own little ways ) added some of their own special things to the tree. 

Over time the man became frustrated with work, and lost interest in Christmas. In fact, it came to the point where the only things he would do were take the family (after a great deal of prodding) to select and cut down the family Christmas tree, and place the Angel on the top of the tree. 

Now the truth is, in the first instance it was not an act of anticipation, but the cheapest tree that motivated him. But the Angel, that was different. But the wife was much smarter than her husband in this regard. Not to mention a few others, so we won’t. And each year she replaced a few more of the original blue ornaments with her own special ones. She knew her husband was a good man, who loved his family more than anything else in the world. And she knew he needed them.  

The man was learning about life. His heart was true and intentions good, but he was an idealist in a world of reality.  He had become disenchanted with the cruelty and hypocrisy, which seemed to prevail. He had trouble accepting the reality of the world: that what had been, was, and always will be! 

His heart had become covered with layers of contempt so that to him Christmas was just another marketing gimmick.  The once magic music, and sacred feelings had transformed into feelings of being mentally violated. A sacred trust offered by a clever and greedy society bent on the bottom line. He was too proud to bow, too smart to be tricked, and unwilling to let his family indulge in such insincere manipulation without knowing his feelings.The children were good kids. Asking all sorts of things. This of course was their only Christmas, their only tree, their only family.  It was their standard and their perception of the world. They knew it was a wonderful tree and they were very lucky. But they were confused because their Dad did not share their joy.  By now he did not even bother to get the tree, just mumbled that Christmas was too commercialized, had lost its’ meaning,  and turned sullen and quiet. 

The wife took it in stride. She watched her young husband grow old. She watched him as he changed from a life full of idealism and hope, to sadness and confusion.  And she nursed him when he wasn’t looking because she knew he wasn’t winning. 

She loved him. The kids loved him. Even the dog put up with him. 

By now the tots were almost adults. The little blond girl had changed from a slender blond pixie to a very beautiful, intelligent lady. She was full of life, spontaneous and charming. But she also understood reality and the importance of love, understanding, and compassion. And though she had inherited many of her father’s weaknesses, she was aware of them and the importance of accepting her them. 

The son was younger, and different. Like his father he was very creative and of many abilities. But he was more like his mother. Small, quiet, and sensitive he had the heart of a lion, but seemed so many times to come up short of comparison to his father. More important, he did not understand and never would his father’s contempt for society and Christmas. It was not lost on him, but neither was the quiet love and encouragement of his mother, and his grandparents, and nuclear family the father encouraged him to cultivate. Though his father might be different, he never kept the son from developing his own positive perspectives. And the son loved the twirling tinsel reflecting the lights and ornaments on the tree. 

Now I know I will not shock you when I tell you that mothers know of the things which love are made of…  And this mother had an iron will and spirit that no mortal would cross. She knew each one of her family, and what they needed. And she wielded her love like the sword of Lancelot. She had never lost her idealism or spirit. She did not let the discouragement of her husband affect the family too deeply.  And yet her heart was sad for his pain. 

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Michael Bonanno is an associate editor for OpEdNews.

He is also a published poet, essayist and musician who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bonanno is a political progressive, not a Democratic Party apologist. He believes it's (more...)

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