After the Solstice -- 12/22/2014

I was looking at some old december entries from Jimsjournal. I found one from 2005 titled After the Solstice and decided to reuse the title for this entry. The entry contained a picture of our family tree, along with my dad's house ornament. There was also a picture of myself (back when my hair was a mix of bright red and orange) holding our old cat Tiger. The picture was titled "Jill and Tiger, dancing by the tree..." Tiger loved to be picked up and held (very much unlike Luther, who will only tolerate it for short periods of time).

My dad mentions needing to pick up some items to put into the stockings. We always saved the stockings for last. And, for me it just doesn't seem like Christmas is complete without them. Our old stockings were unfortunately lost in a flood several years back (not that they floated off, but there were items in the basement that had a lot of water damage and they were in that mix). My dad would always put an orange or some clementines in with some candy, and maybe a small present or two. Tiger would get treats (of course). There was one year that Tiger got a small Christmas print catnip mouse. He went absolutely crazy for that mouse. He was up there in years and hadn't been very playful. Well, he played with that mouse until he was nearly out of breath. It was like that mouse took him back 10 years.
My dad had two short videos posted on that 2005 entry. One was It's a Wonderful Life recreated with cartoon bunnies. The other is now a broken link :(
Christmas tree selection and harvesting was largely a father-daughter activity. We went out as a whole family when we were younger. But, after a while it was my dad and I, tromping through the wilds of the cut-your-own Christmas tree farm, out to find the perfect tree. Both of us would often be drawn towards ones that would not quite fit into the house. But we imagined them there anyway. Eventually we would pick our favorites and choose from those , one with at least three perfect sides (the scraggly side could face the wall). We would take turns sawing down this impressive specimen of Christmas tree-dom. Then we would haul it back to base (through snow, or not depending on the year). It would be bailed (my dad always tipped the guys outside doing the bailing), and tied to the roof of his car. The farm we went to in more recent years was only a few minutes down the road, so it did not need to be strapped to withstand highway speeds. Some years I'm sure my mom would have prefered a smaller tree than we arrived home with (as often we'd have to trim it down to fit inside... and some years we did end up marking the ceiling, woops!).

I will be leaving tomorrow to head down to RI to spend Christmas with my mom and brother. There is a storm coming, but it isn't supposed to arrive until the afternoon and I hope to outrun it.

Jill and Tiger, dancing by the tree... (2005 picture)

Jill with the 2005 tree (I really miss that hat! I lost it in NYC several years ago).

My dad Jim during our Christmas tree hunt in 2005.

The 2005 chosen tree, strapped to the roof of the car and awaiting transport.

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