Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Good Night, Olive Oil!!!


 I love Christmas.  I am un-apologetically in favor of decorations, lights, trees, Christmas carols,  the whole works.
      I  love my Amaryllis plants.  I feel compelled to rescue them from the indignity of the boxes where they start to bloom and then are stunted.  The only place in our house where they can get enough sunlight is on the kitchen counter top and usually by the time they get to our home, they are in sad shape. So my long-suffering husband sets up Amaryllis triage by putting a fluorescent lamp on the counter, providing 24 hour critical light care for our orphan plants.  Although  he occasionally grumbles about how our kitchen is becoming a jungle,  I don't mind!  (He told me tonight he loves the moths that hatch out of them and the little yellow spit that they drop all over everything???? Have no clue...)  At any rate, I know he doesn't mean it when he stands in front of the plants and imitates a Macaw...  Not much, anyway:)  Even more to the point,  I know that when our little "jungle"  suddenly blossoms, he will be as amazed at how fast the plants grew and as awed by their unique beauty as I always am.  (He just hides his unbridled enthusiasm better than I do...;)
Phil and I when it's time to decorate the tree... Guess which one I am...
     Then there is the tree.  Today I got my Hallmark decoration for this year - our tree will never, ever win "Best Tree of the Year" award nor will high fashion magazines ever be beating down our door to take pics of our identity-stricken tree.  But I love it!  Ornaments from my mom, from my college years, and all throughout 26 years of marriage.  Eclectic is good!!  Early attic decorations suit me just fine!!  Whether they all match or not - whether I place them on the tree and then realize belatedly that there are inadvertent issues, like  Tigger appears to be reaching for Olive Oil's posterior (fixed that little snafu...)  I still love my tree. It holds literally 58 years of memories and no designer fake pine can match that:)
     These are just a microcosm of the memories our tree holds:
     Olive Oil, who has safely moved away from the rambunctious Tigger, calls forth a 54 year-old memory of me, lying in bed, waiting for Grandpa to yell, "Good night, Olive Oil!"  Then and only then would I  holler, "Good night, Popeye!" and snuggle in to sleep.  His last words to my mom were, "Tell Olive Oil I love her."  I didn't need to hear the words, I'd already gotten the message loud and clear from the four years of love that he lavished on me.  He was Popeye the Sailor Man, my protector from the things that go bump in the night. I was the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.  (Only I couldn't paint my toe nails in one fell swoop like she could...)  When I get to Heaven, oddly enough, I hope the first thing I hear is "Good Morning, Olive Oil!"
     Thomas the Tank was David's hero when he was four and so the phrase  "You've been a useful engine today!" became a sort of family saying around here and still is... One of those inside jokes that I think he'll remember decades from now just as I remember yelling, "Good night, Popeye!"  When I see that ornament, I remember his little kid face, eyes shining, as we hung Thomas where he could see it without standing on tip-toe.
     The cheap little wooden snowflake, painted white, is always in a prominent place on our tree.  Someone in my Lamaze class painted "David" on it and gave it to me for his first Christmas.  Monetarily, it's probably worth all of 50 cents but how can you put a price on something like that?  When I see it, I remember how he  fit in the crook of my arm that first Christmas and I wonder where the years have gone.
      I'm sure you get the picture...
      If you don't, feel free to come to our house. I'll give a guided tree tour of our family history, complete with hot chocolate and  popcorn.

     I guess I'm saying, it doesn't matter if everything matches or not; enjoy what you have while you have it and for every decoration you hang, for every carol you sing, for every plant you raise (or try to raise...:) slow down and know that a memory is being made, a seed is being planted, a little bit of love is being sown.

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