Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Christmas Already?

This pic is of the Brazilian Pepper Tree that is "non native" to this area, and homeowners are supposed to cut it down. Because of this, no self respecting suburban tract home would ever have one in their yard.

Living where we do, on an acre of land on a dead end street, though, we have that option. They do run rampant, and we cut some down, but I simply love this tree. InOctober the tiny yellow blossoms turn into white berries, and now in early November they are taking on a pretty pearly blush color.

Around Christmas time there will be multitudes of bright red berries , which with their cool green leaves look pretty much like regular Christmas holly.

The berries do have a pepper taste to them, but in large quantities they are poisonous, so I don't bring bowers of them into the house at Christmas. You'd have to eat a lot to get sick, but with my kids, I just don't trust it. They've been known to eat weirder things.

It's one of the only ways we know that the seasons are changing, as we don't get snow or very bad cold snaps. Winter here is a joy.

My husband and I have spent over 40 Christmas seasons together. Our first holiday together was back in 1968 when we were teaching in a little rural town called Ridgway, PA. Now they got SNOW!. It was kind of like living in a Currier and Ives illustration. The old buildings and store. The Victorian homes. No fast food restaurants, no big chain stores. We had to bundle up to go Christmas shopping in a snow storm that first year.

Best photo I could find of Ridgway

We went from family run store to family run store to find gifts for our combined families. The city had colorful lights strung, and everyone was happy and friendly.

We actually went out to a farm and picked out a cut tree that year, and it cost us all of about $5. We sat in our third floor apartment in the old Bogert Hotel (which was mostly for hunters) and created our own ornaments from styrofoam balls, ribbon and pins and sequins. And on Christmas ever we made the long trek down to Freeport, PA, where his folks were from, and then to my parent's home in Penn Hills, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

I wish it could all be that simple again. I'm thinking when the kids are all grown in a few years, and we have our own normal sized little house, maybe it can be that simple again.

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