Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Thirty-four Christmases.

One of my favorite things about our family’s Christmas trees has always been the great collection of ornaments we put on them: There’s never been much order to it – sure, there were a few sets of the standard round glass bulbs over the years, and, when I was little, some strangely-shaped string-and-styrofoam things, but the best ones have always been the homemade kind, or the kitschy ones, or the ones made in school, or the personalized ones labeled with names and years.

The lack of a unified theme or appearance has always, to me, given the tree kind of a wonderland-to-explore kind of feel.

Kelsey & Jenn & I decorated our tree last night, and here, making its 34th annual appearance, is my Favorite. Ornament. Ever. :

I swear, it was green once.

I made this in preschool not long after my fifth birthday. It’s a holly leaf made of a sort of homemade Play-Doh stuff, and you can hardly tell that it was ever green, or that those misshapen nubs on the side were once a bit more pointy.

Every year, when I unwrap the newspaper we pack it in, I’m a little scared that I’ll find just this worn loop of red yarn and a pile of pale green powder and some three-decade-old glitter.

There’s also a tiny crack near the hole the yarn is threaded through that gives me a bit of worry, too.

It’s not the ornament to which I’m most sentimentally attached: There are others more meaningful to me.

And it’s not the oldest decoration to grace our tree, since both Jenn and I have a few antique glass pieces that go back a few generations and decades of Christmases.

But none of them strike the chords that this holly leaf does every December when I hang it on the tree and look at the traces of powder it leaves on my fingertips.

Nineteen seventy-five.

December 5, 2009 - Posted by | Ohio | , , , ,


  1. I put a playdoh ornament on our tree, or did you? Don’t know who did that one. I always loved the ones you did with Sue Miller from bread dough but they did succumb to time.

    Comment by Pam | December 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thirty-four Christmases. Wow. Hard to believe, John.

    Comment by Uncle Rob | December 5, 2009 | Reply

  3. I saw you at church this morning. You were sitting two rows in front of me. Same wire rim glasses and straight brown hair you shook out of your eyes. Peach fuzz mustache. Definitely not a jock; more likely the cool geek crowd. Your little sister looks up to you. Your big sister thinks you’re OK.

    When it was time for the traditional sharing of the peace, you flashed a two finger peace sign at your mom and gave her a fist bump. “Yep. That’s John!”

    Your ornament won’t last forever, but the people you love will. Perhaps not physically, but they will always be there, dancing on the fringes of your life, waiting to flash that moment you need them. That’s why Somebody started Christmas in the first place, isn’t it?

    Comment by Harry Henderson | December 6, 2009 | Reply

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