When I take down the tree, I like to allow myself time.
Time to unroll the strings of lights and re-roll them in tissue paper. Time to lift off the sparkly cobwebs of tinsel and store them in a basket for another day.
Time for the ornaments, nearly every one eliciting a memory of something.
The small wreath of green and red puff balls that Suzanne made in the First Parish craft workshop (attended by nearly every kid in town, regardless of religion). The cross-stitch embroidery John made with hardly any help at age 3 or 4. The fishing tackle box and the saxophone representing past interests. The smiley felt-and-sequin jobs that 90-something Aunt Mae kept secret until Christmas. The coffee grinder for my husband. The goofy red ornament that I made from egg cartons when I was first married. The bird-in-a-nest that is supposed to bring good luck. The Chinese doll I got at Niagara-on-the-Lake the year we took turns babysitting the kids in order to see shows at the G.B. Shaw festival. The frosty ball from DeAnna’s winter wedding. And my new “tradition,” quotations hung on a ribbon.
I am the only person who remembers the things I remember exactly the way I remember them; you are the only person who remembers the things you remember exactly the way you remember them.