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A Christmas Sight
Report to Moderator Old 05-31-2002 09:36 PM
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By Kimberly Ripley

I remember a particular Christmas as though it was yesterday. I was only five years old.

A great deal of my childhood was spent in the home of my great-grandmother. "Mimi" was my world. She represented everything good and gentle and kind. Although well into her seventies, she filled my days with fun and laughter.

To this day, I don't know where the notion to have a real tree came from. We had always had a tiny silver Christmas tree. It sat on my great-grandmother's sewing stand fully adorned with miniature red and green balls and a single strand of colored lights.

It was a sad looking little tree. It did, however, have a great deal of character. I guess I'd been read one too many Christmas stories about families trudging through the snow and coming through the front door brushing off snow and pine needles, yet dragging with them the most wonderful smelling Christmas tree they'd ever seen.

I certainly wasn't old enough to consider logistics. I simply knew we had to have a real tree.

Mimi and I made the trek from the house to the A & P on a regular basis.

"What shall we buy for a treat today?" Mimi asked me as we walked what I now know was a lengthy haul for an elderly woman with arthritis.

"How about cocoa for hot chocolate?" I asked.

"And a peppermint stick to stir it with," Mimi added.

Times were much different then. At five I was allowed to walk to the other side of the A & P and get the milk while Mimi looked for the Eight O'Clock Coffee. I watched with great interest as she paid for the meager groceries with dollars and change. Her worn black leather wallet had seen hard times. She even remembered the Great Depression with clarity.

After paying for our food, Mimi always handed me a nickel for the gum machine. A nickel bought five pieces.

Upon leaving the store I spied a man at the corner of the store's parking lot. He was selling lush green Christmas trees. I stared at the trees in awe.

"Mimi, do you think we could have a real tree this year?" I asked.

"What's wrong with our old tree?" she wondered.

"Well for starters it's silver. Trees are supposed to be green. And it's tiny. It doesn't even sit on the floor," I explained.

"I've had that tree since long before your great-grandfather passed away," she said.

"I know. I'd just like to have a real one. Please?"

With money that should have paid for food or coal, my great-grandmother selected a beautiful green tree. About five feet in height, it was taller than either one of us. The man selling the trees wrapped this one with twine, and we set off for home.

What a sight we must have been, a small child lugging an enormous bag of groceries, and a little old lady with white hair dragging a Christmas tree behind her through the snow.

That turned out to be the best Christmas I can recall. The tree played a vital role. However more importantly I realized at my young age just how much my great-grandmother sacrificed to show me her love.

I now bear the gift of sharing that precious memory.
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