Friday, December 28, 2007

Kenneth’s Christmas Tree

Entry for 26 December 2007:

When my youngest son, Kenneth, was about 6 years old, he brought a baby pine tree, 6 to 8 inches tall including roots, home from school one day in a plastic bag as an Earth Day project. What do you do with a grade school project tree? I couldn’t bear to let it rot in the plastic bag and throw it away, so I planted it in an empty planter next to the back driveway. For years it grew there, among the marigolds and impatiens that we planted each summer, surviving the harsh winters and the demise of multiple planters.

On arriving home in Toledo last week, Diane and I both spotted Kenneth’s tree – now more than four feet tall -- sitting on raised cement porch area behind the house next to the driveway. Independently, we each hatched the plan to recruit it for service as this year’s Christmas tree. Diane picked the dead needles off it and washed the grime off its big plastic planter, and we carefully carried it into the house, setting it up by the front window. There it made a dandy Christmas tree, especially after the kids decorated it with a modest string of lights and a few well-chosen ornaments. We don’t know how it will deal with being shifted between drastically different micro-climates (from cold and snowy in the teens and twenties – minus 8 to minus 5 in Celsius – to the dry indoors heat). But for this year at least, we are honoured to have Kenneth’s tree as a guest in our house, hosting the presents that gathered around it, a gift from the past.

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