Saturday, January 22, 2011

24 Carrot Living

Our Christmas tree just came down. The whole place looks bare without it. Some of you may be tut-tutting the fact that the tree blazed for so long here in our home. People can be quite fanatical about these things. I've been told, with great certainty, that the tree and all decorations must be down by New Years. I've also been told, with equal zeal, that it must be gone by Epiphany, kings come, tree goes. I always wonder who wrote the rules and by what authority do they assume to regulate the behaviour of others.

For Joe and I, being adults simply means living our entire lives like our parents are away for the weekend. Regular rules don't apply. I mean, after all, our whole relationship started in defiance of social custom. If you are going to 'burn in hell' for kissing a boy, what difference does the date make that the tree gets put away. But, I digress just for the fun of it. The reason the tree was up for so long was because Mike, Marissa, Ruby and Sadie called to say that they were going to stop by for a visit. We decided, because we have a pretty unusual tree, to leave it up for the kids to see.

One of the things that makes our tree wonderful is that we have strings of lighted ornaments that veer from beautiful to bizarre. We have a light string of teddy bears with Santa hats, a string of Betty Boops, a string of wooden birdhouses, a string of various vegetables and, of course, a string of fruits. We have Christmas ornaments that we've bought in castles in the UK and craft stands on the beach in California. No two ornaments are the same. Its a riot of diversity. A wonder to behold.

Ruby came in and stopped. She stared at the tree. She'd just woken up having fallen asleep in the car after sledding with her cousins. Her face had the warm flush that kids get when just waking. After a second of seeing all that the tree had to offer she said, 'You have a carrot on your tree.' We looked at the mass of colour and found the one lighted carrot on it's string of vegetables. She didn't see the crown, or the reindeer, or the mouse in an evening gown ... no, she spotted the carrot. OK. Well, the carrot is really kind of cool.

She's an easy girl to make laugh and I taught her the recipe for 'booger grapes' and it so delighted her that she did it over and over again and laughed every single time. I ended up with a gut full of grapes and god knows what else. After making another batch of booger grapes and laughing she said to me, in a sudden burst of seriousness, 'You're funny.' I thanked her. She still stared at me with intensity, 'Are all people in wheelchairs funny?'

I was tempted to say, 'Yeah, you betcha!' But, I'm careful about lying to kids and said instead, 'Well, all fat guys with no hair who are named Dave and ride in wheelchairs are funny.'

She looked at me and asked, 'Are there a lot of those?'

I said, 'No, just me.'

And my reward for being honest, a fresh made booger grape.


Clay said...

Okay, what's a booger grape?

Anonymous said...

What a fun story!!! Nothing wrong with keeping a tree up for as long as you want! Ours is still up. I find that with all the January coldness and quiet after Christmas it is nice to keep it up. Also, with all the work that goes into putting it up I think it should at least be up for December and January! :)


Laurel said...

I don't know what a booger grape is, either!

Your tree sounds great. "And a string of fruits, of course..." Hee!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Hmmm, I was afraid someone would ask about booger grapes! Ruby somehow makes me endlessly creative. I made up booger grapes. Here's recipe:

Take one grape.

Say, 'I'm gonna make a booger grape'

Now, place grape under each nostril.

Hold it out and say, 'I made a booger grape.'

Eat or, better , feed to someone else.

I'll probably get the child protection people down on me for this ... but it really is fun - for a four year old. Of course you don't do this if you've got a cold or if your nose is nasty. Ruby loved the 'idea' of the booger, and would have been disgusted at the presense of a 'real' booger.

So, there you have it 'booger grapes'.

AuntMo said...

One of the many beautiful about Christmas is all of the unique individual family traditions that develop for us to wrap ourselves in. My own mother insists the tree come down the day of Chirstmas or the day after. But she also hangs her (artificial) tree upside down from the ceiling. It is a site to behold. So while I love an unusual tree myself, I tend to keep my own tree up until well into January .

I too, wanted to know what a booger grape was, so thanks for elaborating.

Anonymous said...

You are not a parent and have never been one but you parent very well. I would have said yes to Rubys question because it was simply a fun question but your right it would have been a lie. I need to respect the trust of my children even when itsall in fun. Imagine I am taking a gay childless man as a parenting model. My mother would turn in her grave.

Lene Andersen said...

I saw your description of your string of lights and thought "Aha! Flatirons!" - they have such amazing Christmas ornaments.

Your tree sounds spectacular and I agree wholeheartedly. The tree goes down when you're ready for it to go down. So there.

I can't believe that I'm going into today with a burning need to know what a booger grape is....

Martha C said...

I have to say that I got very upset at my husband when he took down our tree last weekend. It's our first Christmas together and it's been a time of figuring out both sets of traditions. I think that Christmas trees should not come down until Valentine's Day, the next major holiday in the year, but, sadly, not this year! Your tree sounds fabulous and I am glad that you got to leave it up so long!

Kristin said...

Your tree sounds a lot like our tree...very unique and very special.

And, what pray tell is a booger grape?