Once again I put that Angel on my tree, sweetly out of character, on my rather formal-looking tree which is easy, simple and quick to put up, easy to dismantle. And as each year passes I opt for easy: a smaller tree, fewer ornaments and lights. This year I ignored the slight tilt of the top ornament while in years past I have climbed the ladder again and again until it was perfect. However, I will forever insist on a fresh tree!
The Angel is a small bear dressed in remnants of fabric, which my mother used to make a dress for me for a school Valentine's banquet. My mother often sewed for us but when we needed something for a really special occasion we drove for hours to Amarillo, Texas. I hope that when she dressed that bear she knew how special the memory of the red dress was and would become.
So yesterday as I deconstructed Christmas I thought of my mom and how much she loved everything Christmas. I thought about her sweet spirit and her appreciation for the little things in life. Near the end of her life she once told me that she needed nothing more that what she had. I suppose I wanted buy something for her. New towels and bed linens sat on a shelf in the linen closet unused. She was a collector of Depression glass and anything that reminded her of her childhood on the Kansas prairie.
She grew up on the plains of Kansas during the Great Depression of the 1930's in the middle of the Dust Bowl. She was the fourth of five children. Her father was a handsome man whose pride was diminished when welfare workers drove out into the countryside to check on isolated farm families. On one occasion, on a rare visit to town, each of the children were given a small piece of candy and as they walked down the street Mom dropped her candy. My grandfather would not allow her to stoop to pick it up. Sanitation issues were not at the forefront of concern when one has little to eat; she knew it was his pride that kept her from retrieving that prized candy.
The Bear Angel is tucked away in the box with the rest of Christmas's past and I'll get up from here and go to the piano and play Silent Night, Away in a Manger for my mom.