Monday, December 17, 2018

ChristmasTrees ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Sunday was Christmas-tree day here at the Watsons. We were hoping for sunshine. Instead, it was misting rain. There were low places on the way to Pine Hill Farms where the mist was as thick as gauze. The soles of my shoes squished in parking-lot mud, but our spirits lifted when we saw a stand of ice-blue cedars among the Christmas trees. We knew our tree was there. 
For years, we bought our trees from Mr. Frye who owned a Christmas Tree farm near Burrows Crossing. When he decided to retire, it broke our hearts.  We did some research and found Pine Hill Farms near Fultondale. Since then, it’s been our go-to place for trees. That’s where we bought our first ice-blue cedar last year.
We have a forest of Leyland Cyprus trees in our yard that are now taller than the power lines. Last year we wanted something different. We saw a lonely blue ice cedar. Jilda walked around it several times examining the color and smelling branches. 
It was a little smaller than the trees we had chosen in the past, but this little tree resonated with both of us, so we bought it. 
This year there were several ice-blues, and they were larger than last year’s trees. We squished over acres of trees before going back to the first tree we saw when we pulled up. Jilda stood guard by the tree while I went inside to settle up with the cashier.
An older gentleman at the tree farm that could have doubled as Santa helped us. He sent two young guys hustling down to dug up the tree. 
Santa guy started giving me instructions on setting up and caring for a live tree. Jilda and I both listened politely. When he paused, we told him we'd planted our last 35 Christmas trees. It took a moment for that to sink in with him. He smiled and said, "I'll get the kids to load it for you." 
It's a beautiful little tree. After Christmas, we'll find the right place on the farm where it fits and adds to the Feng shui and what not. 
On Friday, I fetched the tree decorations that we store in the barn. Again, it was rainy, but Jilda perked up a pot of her world-famous hot-apple cider, and we listened to Christmas music while decorating the tree. 
Jilda fell into a Zen’ish place (Is that a word?). While she works on the tree. I’ve learned not to talk during this delicate phase of decoration. Each bulb, icicles, and crystal angel have a place on the tree. Only my lovely spouse knows that location. My job is to fetch ornaments. This requires that I interpret grunts and other guttural sounds. It’s a process that works for us.
After decorating the tree, we went for a walk to stretch our legs. During the walk, I saw a small bush in the underbrush that provided a Christmas Deja vu experience.
Just off our walking path, was a small thorny bush. It was the same kind of bush that I cut for my mama each Christmas when I was in grammar school. That was over 50 years ago.  
Mama filled lard can with dirt for a makeshift gumdrop-tree stand. On each of the thorns, she stuck a sugary gumdrop on each thorn. The candy turned the gnarly little bush into a thing of beauty each Christmas. 
When I showed Jilda the small thorn bush and told her about our gumdrop trees at Christmas, she said that her Maw-Maw Mamie made those each year too. 
Today, after I pick up some gumdrops, we’ll start having one too. 
Below is a tree from Christmas Past.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Eggnog Santa

We ran to the grocery store this morning for some things we'll need this week. On the way home, we passed the local fire station. 

Each year they decorate for Christmas. As I drove by, I saw something that made me snort coffee out my nose.

Turning around, I went back to the parking lot and snapped a picture. 

I put it on Facebook and Instagram and said Santa is hitting the eggnog hard. There were others who found it funny too.

I hope you pre-Christmas week is a good one.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Ephemeral Blue

It's rained for days. Thursday night after the Christmas parade, it began and it's only stopped to catch it's breath a time or two.

Jilda's started painting Christmas cards right after coffee this morning. She stopped long enough for us to walk the dogs. 

She slipped on her raincoat, but the skies had lightened, and by the second lap, the rain had stopped. The gray clouds moved off to the east. I smiled.

She was letting Taz the Wonder Yorkie find a place to do her business so I sat on the thinking bench and waited. 

I leaned back and snapped a picture of the sky. 

When Jilda and Taz walked up to me she said, "Don't get your hopes up. The rain is not finished."

I doubted it. But this evening as we left to go to the office Christmas party, it was pouring rain.

Ephemeral Blue

Friday, December 14, 2018

It's a rainy night in Alabama

We did a little Christmas shopping today. Well, to be truthful, Jilda shopped while I pushed a cart and nodded a lot. 

We bought gifts for our grand-nieces and nephews. Jilda has a degree from the Atlant Fashion Institute. She worked retail for years, before working at the next level at merchandise marts in Dallas and Atlanta. She knows clothes. 

I picked out a color that I thought would be perfect for our niece Breeze. Jilda shook her head. She said the feel of the fabric would drive Breeze crazy and we'd bought her a blouse the same color last year. Apparently, both were show-stoppers. 

She dug through racks of clothes that had started looking the same to me and found beautiful items for the kids. I know they will love the gifts.

It started raining last night shortly after the parade ended and it hasn't stopped. We drove home today with our windshield wipers swishing. 

Even now, I can hear rain on the roof.  

I hope you have had a good Friday. Be safe this weekend. There are crazy people out there.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Parade duty

I had to shoot pictures of the Christmas Parade tonight. My bones are weary. I'll do a better post tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Winter scene

Summertime here is oppressive. We walk daily because we have to just to stay fit. But walking in winter is a joy. This morning I felt like the Michelin man. I cacoon'd up in several layers of clothes and headed out.

We had freezing fog which is something we rarely have here. It coated leaves and limbs. I snapped a picture of the blueberry bushes which had frosty leaves. It felt good to be alive.

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