I must take after my daddy because he could not wait until it was all over. He always began trying to dismantle the tree to remove it from the living room as soon as the last gift was opened. In addition to the tree, he became tired of the rich food--abundant in my mother's kitchen--and begged her to cook a pot of pinto beans and make cornbread.
When I was in sixth grade, my older sister decided to marry her sweetheart on Christmas Day. Mainly this was due to the fact he was in the Army and wouldn't be home long, but also because our grandmother and grandfather--my daddy's parents--were married on Christmas Day. Daddy began to fume long before the day arrived, wondering how we could get that tree out of the living room so my sister could have her small family wedding in that same room.
On the big day, we got up earlier than usual to open gifts. Daddy kept saying, "Y'all hurry up, now...we don't have all that much time. So, rush we did, through the opening and oohing and aahing, with Daddy pacing and muttering. Soon, it was over, and Mother brought in big trash cans for the boxes and paper. She left the room to tend to the kitchen, Daddy went outside to do something, and my sisters and I went to our bedrooms to dress.
Then...we heard a crash and a tinkle of breaking glass. We all rushed to the living room. The big tree, now bereft of its presents, had fallen over across the living room carpet. Shattered Christmas balls lay about, and the icicles were strung out, and the lights had come loose from the electric plug, so those were dark and dead. So pathetic, this tree looked, as though it had become tired of the yammering about it being in the way.
So, the tree just up and died, falling on its face.
There are some who love to keep the Christmas trappings up and lit as long as possible. I've seen some homes that were decorated the first of November and stayed that way until March.
Most of all, Mr. Crumley outlined the front with Christmas lights decades earlier. Each year, he added more, and never took them down nor turned them off. It became an icon and was featured in the Texas Monthly magazine, a popular periodical filled each month with Texas stories. Just a few years ago, for some reason, it closed and the entire thing was bulldozed. But there was a man who loved Christmas.
On Ranch Road 12 from our house into town, a house sat off to the left. Long ago, the owner had created a peace sign on his roof, outlined with Christmas lights. Once it got it up, he left it... and although the lights didn't burn year round, they were turned on for a few months each year.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas