Monday, December 23, 2013

Inhale deeply ...by Marlene Terry


Marlene Terry
Tried to wave an old friend down who passed by me in her car outside a local grocery store recently. But it was obvious that she was intent on traveling to the temporary business set up on the other side of the parking lot. ... A Christmas tree lot, of all things.

By the time I caught up, was somewhere inside, looking through the hundreds of evergreens that were being displayed for sale.

... I'll just say "Hello" I thought as I followed suit and entered the lot myself.

Then it hit me. That smell, fresh and mountainy, the scent of a REAL tree, multiplied exponentially. And immediately I was beset with the memory of browsing through one of those tree lots with my family when I was young.

Back then EVERYBODY had a real tree or no tree at all. And the aroma, although normal for that time, always had an affect.

We (my sisters and I) could hardly wait for my dad to get the tree we'd picked out and secure it on top of our car. Then after we arrived home, he'd bring it into the house to sit for the night and "warm up," Mom would say. ... That way it would be ready to decorate the next day. 

Sleeping for me on that night was almost as difficult as on Christmas Eve, what with that wonderful odor permeating our house and maybe not visions of "sugarplums" dancing through MY head to keep me wide awake, but certainly the  anticipation of whether or not Grandma's Christmas tree light would turn on again that year.
... That old light, in the shape of a cluster of grapes, was already decades old when we got it. But it never failed to blaze forth for the several decades more that we used it.

... Bubble lights, the old-fashioned kind that heated up, boiled and exploded at times, were also a favorite.
... And then there were the icicles.


Most people don't use them anymore, those silvery strings that my mom insisted be placed on the tree "one at a time," and hung barely by the tip. That way they would stream down the tree in a continuous shiny cover.

... And the results?

We'd start at the bottom of the tree and work up. And after hours ... and I'm not exaggerating the time it took at all ... of painstaking work, Dad would finally top the tree with the star. ... And then we'd turn off all the regular lights in the house and plug in the tree.

I honestly don't have the words to describe how beautiful and magical everything became, when with the scent of that wonderful tree in our home, and after the electrical cord sparked slightly from the overload, the lights on the Christmas tree would come on and it was suddenly Christmas. ... So I'll just offer a quote that I think says it pretty well.

"... freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin — Inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night."  — John Geddes

(inhale deeply)...Ahhhhh!

♦ Hope you'll let me share YOUR stories and photos here at my residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at nutshellstories@gmail.com.