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I’m sitting here trying to ignore the Christmas tree that is leaning precariously against the bookcase in front of the doors. It was delivered last night by the tree guy at 10 p.m. He was supposed to set it up but, alas, he couldn’t maneuver the stand that L has been mastering the past two years with no problems. The tree guy said, over and over, to his sidekick, “This won’t work. This won’t work.” Then he just left leaving the tree sitting in the stand without water and dangerously inviting for snoopy cats to knock over. I was seriously disappointed. I thought all my “tree” problems were solved when I went by the lot in the morning and told him that my dear friend, L, who for more-than-ten years has been coming with me to get my tree, was not feeling so hot this year so couldn’t do it. The owner of the lot said, no problem, I can deliver it when the lot closes tonight at 8. “Do you need it set up too?” Sure. I was ecstatic. And, to sweeten the day, there was no charge for delivery. Merry Christmas to me! Hah, that enthusiasm was quickly deflated last night as he walked out the door. The only thing I could do was knock on L’s door to tell him the story. And, as always, he helped me. He came over to at least get the tree in a position so he could water it. And then he promised, if he’s feeling ok, to come back today and finish it.

I don’t do much for Christmas but I do enjoy having a tree. I think it’s my mother in me — although, unlike her, I do not keep it up until Valentine’s Day (only a slight exaggeration). I like the lights and to get out all my ornaments and remember the stories behind them. But, I do not like to do the actual put-the-bulbs-on-the-tree decorating. I’ve always been like this so have usually been lucky finding someone who thinks it’s a great, fun thing to do. Then, I can just sit back and put hooks on bulbs and hand them to the decorator one by one. It’s a win-win situation. For the past many years, R has done it for me. It had become a tradition. Someone once told me that it takes three years in a row for something to become a tradition. She said this to me at the second birthday dinner she had for me at her house. As we were eating, I said, “Oh, this is now a tradition.” “Nope,” she said, “it takes three years for something to become a tradition.” She didn’t invite me the next year and that was that.

But R has broken the tradition this year. He has pooped out on me after begging me to please get the tree this weekend so he could continue the tradition and decorate it before he goes to Europe. So I did. But now, when I called him, he says, “Oh, sorry, can’t do it.” He’s become so Canadian with that easy, rolling-off-the-tongue, “sorry”. I couldn’t resist guilting him just a little — okay, throwing in an aching Harriet was pretty low. But when he said, resigningly, with a huge sigh at the end, “Okay, I can do it.” I had no choice but to say in that little, annoying, disgusting, hurt voice, “No, that’s ok, I’m sure someone will help me.” But, alas, everyone else that I have asked is busy. Imagine that, two weeks before Christmas and in the middle of Hanukkah and folks have plans.

Is it just the wrong time and the wrong tree? Usually when I run into this many roadblocks in what I’m planning on doing, it’s a sure sign that I shouldn’t be doing it. In other situations, I’d just reschedule it and do it when it’s the right time. But, I cannot have this dark, empty tree leaning against my bookcase for another few days, or weeks or whatever. It is the Capricorn in me that wants things to get organized, be done and the mess put away.

Then, just a few minutes ago, L, once again, came to my rescue. I asked him how he was feeling and if he was up to “The Tree”. He asked, “Setting it up? Watering it? Decorating it?” I answered, quite humbly, “All three, please?” So that’s what we’re doing later today. That man has truly put the Fa-La-La back into this day — and in me, too.