My family decorated the Christmas tree tonight. I sit by the twinkling lights (the blasted buggers are not SUPPOSED to twinkle, but alas) and I'm taken back to the Christmas trees of my youth...
insert cheesy flashback music here
"Helen? HELEN! Is it straight or not?"
"Godblessit, Jack, I can't exactly tell from here, can I? Can you hurry it up - this tree must weigh 80 pounds!"
"Can I hurry? Well, why didn't you just say so? I'm down here getting carpet burns on my face for giggles, but now that I now you're in a hurry... KRISTI! Get in here and tell me if this *&^**&^^ tree is straight! KRISTI!!! Where is she?!"
"Right here, Dad. Looks good."
"What's that? I can't hear you. I've got a Fraiser fir in my ear."
"OW! Stupid tree stand! Nothing more than a pie tin and a coupla thumb tacks! You'd think by 1978 they could make a tree stand that could hold a... hold a... a..."
"A tree, Dad?"
"Enough outa you. Let's see you get down here and - OW! Stupid tree stand!"
"It's leaning now, Dad."
"Towards the kitchen?"
"Nope - towards the front door."
"HELEN! Can you at least hold the tree straight while I - OW! There. Done."
"It's a great tree, Dad."
"Thank your mother. She always picks a winner."
"Thanks, Mom. Great tree."
"Best one ever."
insert cheesy flash-forward/end-of-sequence music here
We have one of those fancy-schmancy tree stands that pops onto the tree base, swivels around in a huge bowl until it's straight, then locks into place. It's easy and clean and relatively pain-free. Progress and a capitalist economy has built a better mousetrap. But what will my daughter - the Bean - take away from her hall-decking youth? Alas, those blasted twinkling lights never disappoint.