A tree eating machine (preparing the tree for transport from the tree farm to the living room) The photo was taken the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Most families, I surmise, have some kind of Christmas tradition based on a gift that just keeps giving. It's often a fruitcake, that's nearly petrified after generations of being given and given again. But my family happens to like fruitcake, so another gift rose up to take its place. It’s a pair of leather anklets with a series of bells attached. You wear this when you are dancing as if you are American Indian at a pow-wow. Problem is, no self-respecting Native American, at least not one in his or her right mind, ever wore such an item. But my Dad made this when he was in the Boy Scouts, thinking he was dressing up like he was a real Injun, like the ones he'd seen in Roy Roger’s movies. And then, about the time my Dad moved out of his parent’s home, he gave his prize possession, this nerve racking anklet, to L., his much younger brother and my uncle. L. proceeded to drive their mother crazy. Then L., probably at the insistence of my Grandma, gave the bells to me so I could return the favor. For a time the bells were lost in my parents attic. Shortly after my brother and his wife had their first kid, I was going through stuff I’d left up in my parent’s attic and came across these bells. It was only natural for me to give them as a Christmas present to my nephew. The favor was returned when my daughter was three or four. And ever since, every year when we get the Christmas decorations out, she hears those bells ringing in a particular box and pulls them out and wears them around the house for an hour or two while I’ll gain sympathy for Cain, as I too have thoughts of doing in my brother. But this is about to change. Next to receive the gift is to be my youngest brother’s son. He’s at the right age to cherish such a gift and I’m sure this is just what the boy needs to send his dad over the edge.