Sunday, January 4, 2009


Today was the taking down of the Christmas tree that was put up over a month ago at a party exhaustively documented here.

There are three or four boxes for the big glass balls with warnings like this on their lids. The warnings (written by my daughter before she was of an age to worry about spelling) date back to the time 25 years ago when an unmarked box of expensive glass balls was accidentally thrown out (by me, before I was of an age to double-and-triple-check my actions) during an autumn garage clean-up.

Nobody has ever attempted to count, but there must be at least a thousand ornaments. Only a few are both fragile and expensive. Most are not particularly fragile and certainly were never expensive. Still, they have their individually remembered histories, and make the best argument I know of for the transcendental potentialities of everyday American materialism.

The same fake tree with the same thousand-or-so lights strung inside of it has survived its trips out of and back into the garage for the past dozen years and more.

And this is how the tree spends most of each year. It is on its way out the door.

Maybe not such a very cheerful image, yet overall it remained a cheerful-enough job-of-work. An afternoon spent banishing the fripperies of the season is bound by this date to feel like an afternoon profitably spent.