Sunday, December 7, 2014


Our first Christmas in Indiana, (not counting the arrival-after-driving-all-day-Christmas-Day VERY first one, which was necessitated by Chris’ having to be back here on duty the next day) was a lovely time.   We’d met a lot of new friends, and since many of them were far from home, we’d had many, many of them over for meals and evenings.  As a matter of fact, the little “guest book” I was given as a hostess gift contained almost three hundred names that first year (including many repeats, of course, with quite a few names written over and over during the course of the year).

We wanted to get our tree up to enjoy for a couple of weeks before the holiday, as we’d be traveling back to Alabama for the celebration with family, but with this and that, we hadn’t bought one til along about the fifteenth or so, though we’d decorated the little apartment with a few things we’d purchased or brought along.

One night, as we were on our nightly walk around the complex, enjoying the brisk air and the beautiful night skies, we saw a lumpish shape like a dark trash bag by the dumpster out behind the offices/party room.   Small gleams of tinsel in the lights of the parking area showed it to be a smallish tree lying on the ground, with the little stand still clamped to the trunk.   We picked it up, looked it over in the dark for breakage or debris, and carried it home, each on one end, like transporting a limber green picnic cooler.

We stood it up on our little patio and brushed away a few leaves, marveling at our good fortune that the party hosts had apparently discarded tree, stand, and some small shining ornaments, as well.  It was exactly the right size for fitting in front of our patio door, and all decorated, as well, like a lovely gift just found lying on the ground.  The small flat square decorations sort of fluttered in the cold breeze, and I gently unhooked one to get a closer look.  It had the look of a ketchup packet, with writing on the sides, but---if I may be a bit indelicate here---a CONDIMENT it was not.

SOMEONE had had a party theme we still cannot fathom, lo, these twenty-something years later, for our sweet little from-the-sky tree was gaily hung with a couple of dozen fluttering flat packets best not mentioned in polite company, and certainly not on a nice lady’s blog.  They’d even bought the proper little hook hangers, and strands of silver tinsel in preparation for this odd party, and skewered every small sachet right through for hanging.

We still mention that little bonus tree almost every year, with its unseemly decorations and unknown purpose.  I cannot think what might have been the cocktail conversation around that small oddity, or what other d├ęcor might have graced that party, and we shudder to think what the actual party favors might have been.   

We gave it a whole new start in life, with pretty baubles and a strand of pearls, I remember, to live down such an embarrassing debut display amongst some VERY STRANGE people.   We've had very few folks we know well enough to tell such an odd story to---til now.

Our latest---a Leanin' Tree upstairs


harleygirl said...

Oh my gosh! ha, ha. This was so amusing! And odd. WHO would do that?? You have a story to tell, for sure! At least you gave the tree a happy home. :)

Miss Merry said...

Love the story of the condiment tree!!! I used to work upstairs in our County Admin Building - the Health Department was in the basement. One day some teen boys, struggling with adulthood sauntered up to our desk and asked in their deepest voices, "Is this where you get the free condiments?" - We kept a straight face as we said, "I am sure you are looking for the office in the basement". We told each other we all wanted to say - Catsup or Mustard - but we felt that perhaps "condiments" might be a good idea for these young men. Thank you for making me smile.

Caro said...

62I love our leany tree, It's so shiny.

GSL said...

My dear Rachel,
You certainly have a way of 'silk pursing'many a different sow's ear.

L. D. said...

It is a great story. Life can deal with us many different adventures but opportunities show up like a divine gift. Simple though it may be, great the gift was to you two.

Kathy said...

Oh my! You do have your adventures! I just love this story. Who would do such a thing? I'm glad you were able to make over this tree to be a "proper" symbol of Christmas.

Beverly said...

I am dying here. I want to be rolling in the floor laughing, but I am not for the pain of getting up off the floor.

Tears rolling down my cheeks, and sides aching from laughing will just have to do.

Kim S. said...

I want to know who in the world gave that party and what the theme was. Especially since this was so long ago!