Noseless Joe

December 30, 2011

We really enjoy Christmas lights.  In the past Diane and I would spend hours driving around, a different neighborhood every night, as we looked to see the colors of Christmas.  Here in our small village we walk at least two or three nights a week, looking at outdoor lights and peeking into windows.

About two blocks from our house is sight repeated a hundred times in our small community.  Mary and Joseph kneel near the Christ Child.  Some are illuminated from within, while others sit in the light of a spot.   The Holy Family residing near our house is about two feet high, and made of the brittle plastic from several decades ago.  Brightly painted (Mary as always in blue and white) and illuminated from within, most likely by a  sixty watt bulb.

A slight difference with this particular scene, being probably thirty years old or more, Joseph has been dropped, and his nose has been broken off.   The hole glows from the internal bulb so that poor old Joe almost looks more like Rudolph.

If  I lived there I  probably would put a band-aid on Joe’s nose, but I wouldn’t replace him either.  There is something more than cool about “old” Christmas ornaments. Each and everyone carries decades of memories, thousands of smiles, and a history of hope.

Growing up, even as a five or-six-year-old, it seemed like all of our ornaments had always been there.  I can only distinctly remember buying a box or two of silver tinsel every year, and one year, out of necessity we bought a lighted angel for the tree top.  The number of bubble lights diminished each year untill there was only one or two left, but the number of ornaments themselves never seemed to grow smaller or larger, even after my little brother took a bite out of one.  Every year we had a crocked tree, held in place with wire and nails, and decorated with the very same ornaments,

For a while, as a teen I questioned this, and actually longed for something, anything new on the tree.  And I am sure there were new ornaments purchased or produced, but my memories only remember the old ones.

As Diane and I have now done 35 Christmases together, we have amassed enough ornaments to fill four or five trees, and some years we have done that.  I love the “snowman” tree, the icicle tree, the gold tree and the “old-fashioned tree. But hands down, the one I enjoy the most, the one that recalls the most and best memories is our traditional tree.  The tree with ornaments from friends, ornaments we made, and those we found one, two or three at a time.  There are no ornaments on this tree that we bought by the dozen, almost every single ornament, close to two hundred of them, carries a story.  And even with my feeble memory, I can recall most of them.  Looking at any or all of our trees is nice.  I really like each of them.  And Diane decorates our home beautifully and homey at the same time.  But it is that tree that brings back the warm joyful memories of Christmases past, and the friendships we shared.

As you go through life, not just the Holiday season, but life, pick up the new and improved when you can, or when you must, but hold on to the old and the dear whenever you can.  Hold gently and lovingly.  Don’t let go.

Especially when it comes to friends.

I could keep writing about this because it really is close to my heart today, but I have a noseless friend I have to get ahold of.


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