Saturday would have been my Dad's 71st birthday and I always find myself thinking of him at this time of year for one reason or another. My Dad absolutely loved Christmas and he usually had lights pretty much anywhere he could find to put them!! He loved having his family home for Christmas but after a few hours of his 12grandchildren packed in the living room, we teased him about being just as excited about seeing us leave!!!!
Our first Christmas living in TN, (LaDonna, you may remember this!) we were what I refer to as "dirt" poor. Dave was working construction and it was winter so the work was a little scarce making money even more scarce!! We didn't have a Christmas tree and there was no money to buy one either. Our kids were 2, 4 and 6 and we were pretty sure that they would survive without one somehow but my momma's heart was pretty unhappy. I couldn't keep secrets too well from either one of my parents but especially not my dad. He called one day which was EXTREMELY unusual. I almost always got a call from my mom about every day but hardly EVER got a call from my dad. He wanted to "just chat" or so he said but he managed to wheedle it out of me that we weren't going to have a tree. Oh what a mistake on my part!!!
In the little town of Friendsville at that time, the lady who delivered our mail would usually just pull in the driveway and honk when she had mail for us that wouldn't fit in the box. One day, I was busy about the house when I heard a horn and looked out to see the mail lady in my driveway. I walked down and watched her climb out of her car and open her trunk and pull out a HUGE box. With the help of my kids, I managed to get the box in the house. I opened up a Christmas tree, lights, garland and bulbs and was completely blown away. According to my mom, Dad went shopping and drug her along for no kid of his was going to go without a tree PERIOD END OF DISCUSSION!!!!!!
We kept that tree for the longest time and it was known as "Grandpa's Tree". A few years back when Frances and Jeanne came through, that was one thing I lost. My heart hurt but the poor thing was so anemic looking. Branches just weren't surviving the years of use!!! I have since bought a new tree and new decorations but I am pretty sure that nothing in the world can ever replace "Grandpa's Tree" in our house.