About 55 years ago, my brother and I would spend weekends this time of year looking for an acceptable Christmas tree while hunting rabbits on the approximately 80 acres or so at our disposal.
We looked for properly shaped cedar trees, about 6 feet tall, full bodied and with as few open spaces between the branches as possible. The quest was an annual ritual and marked the beginning of our favorite season.
I no longer have to range far and wide over the countryside to find a suitable tree. This year, I sent my second oldest grandson, Hunter, up into the attic where he lowered our tree down on a rope, one section at a time.
Hunter also helped pull boxes off garage shelves, lugged them inside and helped reconstruct the artificial tree. The two bottom sections are heavy.
We enjoyed the day. I always look forward to decorating the house — well, to be accurate, I look forward to watching Pat decorate the house. I fetch needed items, run to the store to buy ornament hooks and sit and read while Christmas music plays on the seasonal music cable channel.
It's also a good time to have a grandson around. A junior in high school, Hunter is a member of the marching band, and he has a job, so, he stays busy. An hour or two of his time is a gift.
Pat made cookies. Grandsons like cookies.
Hunter is a whiz with anything electronic, so I consulted him about a computer I may purchase in the next month or two. He drove me (yep, he has a driver's license) to Best Buy and we looked around a bit. He offered some suggestions. I have a better idea of what I need.
He had a church meeting, so we filled a zip-lock with all but four of the cookies, suggested he share with his brothers and thanked him for his time and efforts.
On Thanksgiving, his little brother, Walker, placed festive stick-on penguins and snowflakes on our sliding glass door to the deck. He appreciated a cookie or two, and some brownies, and some ice cream.
Aaron, the oldest, a senior, was busy with schoolwork. He helped lug things down from the attic last year. Maybe Hunter shared the cookies.
The tree is up, the lights work (always a minor miracle); the door wreath and two small outside trees are installed. Much remains to be done. As I write, Pat is shopping. She's already ordered and received a few items from online marketing opportunities.
It's something of a frantic few weeks until Christmas, days that will speed by far faster than they seemed to 55 years ago.
At church Sunday, we started observing Advent. I suppose our less spiritual preparations are metaphors for the hope and anticipation that defines true Christmas.