Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Memory

Hi, it's been a while. I didn't even get my email for several days. This time of year, I do the things I need to do with my family and to serve those who can't serve themselves, and let everything else go. So if I am silent, it is not because I am still.

A dozen years ago, we bought The Money Pit. It was an 1800 sq. ft. nearly-condemned house (no really, we had to escrow money to put in a heating system right away, that was the only way the bank could sell it to us, because in FL it is illegal to sell a house with no heating system) with no carpets or appliances, peeling wallpaper, a brown tile bathroom with no shower (yet!), a black swamp for a pool, a separate little cottage built in the 60s and not improved since then, and fenced acre of overgrowth. Hey, we got a good price.

The end of the property was privacy-fenced against some Senior condos and had a couple 300-year old oaks and more wild grapevine than I had just about ever seen. I pulled down grapevine and wove it into wreaths until my hands were so sore I could barely move them. I made a 4-foot wide wreath for the front wall of the house and spray-painted yards and yards of the grapevine gold, coiled it up and stored it for use on my Christmas tree.

Because I always seem to be ahead of the decorating trend, I painted our living room with lattice and grapevines (you can see it here), and installed dark purple carpet. I made a tree-topper out of an oval of woven grapevine to which I affixed a 3D quilted dove that I made out of white jacquard and gold lame. I made purple and baby's breath nosegays, ornaments of grape clusters and large purple and gold tassels, and spray-painted gold pinecones. I painted frosted white and purple and gold balls with grape leaves in the opposite colors. Every year we would put a Fraser Fir in the living room, decked out in purple and gold and garlanded around and around in my golden grapevine.

Along about then is the first time they came out with purple Christmas lights too. You could only buy them at Target. So I bought 2, 100-light sets and one, 100-light set of white and sat down and painstakingly pulled out every third bulb from the purple strands and replaced it with white... then put the purple bulbs in the empty sockets of the white strand, so I had 3 strands of lights that were purple, purple, white... etc. I used these same lights every year on my glorious purple and gold and white Christmas tree.

One year my eccentric husband decided that instead of dragging the tree out through the front door, leaving needles in his wake, and having then to dispose of an entire tree, he had a better idea. He brought in a trash can and while I was out grocery shopping, proceeded to dismember the tree branch by branch with manual hedge trimmers and put the branches in the trash can. He then cut the trunk in half, jammed it down in the can, and put it outside. Tada! How neat! He also very kindly wound my purple, purple, white lights around cardboards and put them away. How thoughtful!

When I got home from shopping, I saw the can sitting near the porch with the tree branches in it, and many, many bits and pieces of gold grapevine. He had cut up all my grapevine garland!! OOOOooooh I was so mad, I could have bitten a 10-penny nail in half!

Nearly a year later, I got to get mad about it all over again when I got the lights out to put on a new tree, and found out that he had also cut my purple, purple, white light strands in several places. I remember sitting on the top step of the porch with the door open and a roll of electrical tape and a pair of wire strippers, wiring those lights back together.

I tell him I have only kept him all these years to keep someone else from having to put up with him.

And he thinks I am kidding.

Love is not irritable; it keeps no record of wrongs... Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never quits. 1 Corinthians 13:5b,7,8a NLT

3 comments: said...

now that is a story! and I love the way you did your living room, boy would I be upset too. Huggs marion said...

Ok I have to wish you and your whole family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Who knows what God has in store for us this comming new year, for me its always filled with lots of hope and love. God Bless Marion

S a s h a said...

Oh this is fun. I really enjoyed your Christmas story. Lovely paintings, too.