I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving!!!! I also want to
take a moment to wish a Happy Chanukah to my friends that celebrate
and also a Happy Holiday season!
This is my last blog of this year, and of this trimester. I wanted
to thank all of you for reading over the year and spending your
time with me.
I'm going to forego the tips and tricks for coping with finals --
we've been there, done that. I'm going to skip the recipes and
healthy living tips. Instead, I'm going to share a story.
This is the time of year when I get the most nostalgic. I have a
million wonderful memories of the holiday season. It's always been
my favorite time of year. As a kid, I would spend hours untangling
Christmas lights, decorating the house, and making random crafts
and cookies. I don't even remember how old I was when all of that
Christmas was always a really special time for my dad and I. We're
both still a lot like little kids, even now. My dad worked -- a
LOT. He worked both as an RN and a CRNA almost my entire childhood,
so he didn't have a lot of free time. We would often work in the
garden, run random errands, or do special projects on Saturday
mornings -- because that was one of the few times he didn't have to
work. Those Saturday morning memories have always been very special
I must have been maybe 8 or 10 years old the first time I remember
us going to get the tree. Since I grew up in Central Illinois, it
was often cold and snowy by the beginning of December. Like
clockwork, the decorating started the first weekend of the month --
before that was too soon, after was too late. The boxes were pulled
out of storage, having lain in wait the whole year for just this
event. I'd dump garland and lights all over the living room floor
and then carefully unpack each ornament. Each one always had a
story -- whether it was hand made or store bought.
(Image Source: stamp4fun.typepad.com)
It always seemed like the coldest day of the year when we would
go search for our tree. My dad and I would bundle up in whatever
big poufy coats we had, 4 pairs of socks, boots, and usually
overalls (at least for him). Sometimes we'd let the dog (Tubbs, the
wonder mutt) ride in the back of the pickup truck. I really don't
know how he didn't freeze -- it seemed so cold. I don't remember
what we'd talk about on the drive, but it must have been something
like piano recitals or Christmas programs at school.
We drove to a Christmas tree farm out in the middle of nowhere (I
think it was Meredosia, maybe Beardstown), pulling back into a
field dotted with trees and cactus. Tucked back down a long
driveway were a couple of barns, an old farmhouse like ours, and a
bunch of tractors. We'd check in with the owner and he'd send us on
our quest. We drove up and down the sandy roads (Christmas trees
grow best in the sand -- or so he'd tell me), looking for the
Sometimes we remembered the saw, and sometimes we didn't. One year
I remember cactus spines stuck in my socks, running nose, standing
opposite my dad around a HUGE Christmas tree trying to convince
ourselves that it wasn't too big. (It was -- but we got it anyway.
It left a sap mark on the ceiling that stayed there for about 5
years. It also fell over, and we ended up with a 3-foot tall
artificial tree at some point in the season. Incidentally -- it was
beautiful while it lasted). We'd crawl under the tree, make our
cut, and load it into the back of the pickup truck. The heat never
seemed to work all that well on those days, but it didn't matter.
We were triumphant.
The rest of the day was always a blur. There was usually a tree in
a bucket of water, my brother and my dad carrying it into the house
while I was on "needle patrol," and my mom was taking pictures of
us all with her camera. By the end of the day it would all be done.
I want to wish you all great skill and fortune on your final
exams, safe travels, and wonderful memories this holiday