Oh Christmas Tree

     Which is my favorite tree this year? Once you see what I am talking about you will understand why I selected the one I did. Every year for the past ten years I have taken my grandchildren to see the big trees in Chicago. The first one is always the Marshall Field’s (Macy’s) tree in the Walnut Room. We ooh and ahh about the beauty of the thing, have breakfast, take pictures, tour the store, and then view the windows on State Street.

     I thought the last two Macy’s trees were outstanding, one done by Martha Stewart, and the other by Tommy Hilfigger. This year, the Macy’s designers did the tree themselves. In my opinion, Martha and Tommy should hang it up. Macy’s outdid themselves with a stunning design that makes previous year’s pale in comparison.

Macy’s theme ornamented the tree with four words, “Dream, Imagine, Believe, Wish.” 

     A short walk west, and we arrived at the Daley Plaza to visit the Kris Kindle Market and the Chicago Christmas tree.

     It drizzled the whole time, but our Christmas spirit was not dampened. Usually, the Chicago tree is a huge live-artificial tree. It is constructed on site by inserting dozens of cut trees into steel tubes on the steel stem. When it is completed it is outstanding. This year, the Mayor insisted on a cut tree. It is a fifty five foot tall spruce, cut from a yard within the city. Are you missing a tree? If so, you can view it in the Daley Plaza. It is adorned with red, white, and green LED lights.  The Santa House is still there, but the G-scale train layout gave way to more market space.

     The market which is a German tradition and filled with vendors from Germany has given way to new vendors from South America. Somehow, the market just wasn’t the same. 

     My grand daughters love to chase the pigeons from the eternal flame, but this year, they were mysteriously missing. What? No pigeons in downtown Chicago? Whose idea was that?

      Our next journey was a short walk to Michigan Avenue to pay respect to the “Bean.” It’s real title is Cloud Scape, but no one calls it that. Because of the clouds, and the drizzle the reflections were surreal.

     We parked under the Bean, and retrieved the car with a mere twenty-six dollar parking fee. I think the Mayor taught the president everything he knows about how to steal from tax payers. I digress.

    The slushy ride home brought me to the next cheery Christmas tree, the one decorated by Peggy. Next to Macy’s I like it best, but it is still not the winner of my “Best Christmas Tree” contest.

The winner is the one created by my beautiful little grandaughter Jenna Rose. She crafted a card with love and addressed it directly to me. She knows me all too well; here it is. . .

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Grumpa Joe

The Gift (A serial, part 7)

The Gift (A serial, part 7)
” Let’s add the tinsel. It adds glitter to a tree,” he told the birds.
“We have to hang each strand carefully. I don’t want Connie to look like the bird nest that is in the top branches near the trunk.”
Morty placed an ornament into the nest. As they hung the strands they continued to hum Silent Night. When the last strand was in place, They stood back and admired their creation. It was Morty’s gift to the Baby Jesus on His birthday. Morty switched on the lights, and Connie came to
life.
“I feel so wonderful,” said Connie, “you made me look beautiful. I hope Baby Jesus likes me.” Morty said to rabbit,  “cover the tree stand to add the final touch.”
The next job was to assemble the nativity scene in a special place. Morty picked a small table right next to the tree. He wanted the nativity to be where he, and all of his friends would easily see it. He cleaned the table, and covered it with his best tablecloth. Lovingly, he placed the stable, and the figures into position on the table. He handled each figure with special care and gentleness. The nativity was complete when Morty put the last lamb near a kneeling shepherd.

To be continued . . . .

The Gift (A serial, part 5)

The Gift (A serial, Part 5)

The scoot home took a long time because the Covert farm was a long way from the town where Morty lived. He deliberately kept Skye out of hyper-drive, and drove slowly to keep the little tree from tearing off. They talked as he drove. Connie told him about when he was a seed, and grew quickly into a sapling. Farmer Jim re-planted him into the field where his great, great, great, great-grandfather grew up. He survived a drought, the heat of summer, and cold winters. When it snowed, his limbs sagged to the ground.

Connie’s favorite job was to host families of birds. The cardinals and chickadees picked his boughs to build their nests. They collected material from all over the farm. Red Cardinal, and his wife Rosy made hundreds of trips to the tree. Red brought pieces thread, and tiny twigs, one by one, and Rosy wove them into place. She went to the pond to make mud to hold it all together. They picked a spot about half way up Connie’s trunk in a spot that hid the nest from view.

Connie told Morty how he loved to watch the cardinals flying back and forth to feed their babies. The babies slept between meals. They chirped loudly when their parents came with food. Once a cat came into the field near Connie. Rosy covered the nest with her body, and spread her wings to hide her chicks.

Red buzzed the cat to get its attention away from the babies. Connie dropped his boughs over the nest to give the birds more protection. They all sat very still while the cat was there. All the trees in the field watched in deadly silence as the cat stalked with his head low, and his shoulders in a hunting crouch. After what seemed like an eternity of stillness and quiet, the cat finally wandered off in another direction.

Morty arrived home after dark. He untied Connie’s branches and set him upright into a bucket of water.

“Tomorrow,” he said, “I will place you into a tree stand, and dress you for the birthday party. Now it is time for all of us to rest.”

To be continued. . . .

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