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Thursday, December 08, 2005


In last night's darkness, the air was so cold it sucked the moisture from our skin so quickly we could feel it go.

We stamped our feet and watched the steam evaporate from our hands when we took off our gloves. Around us, frosty trees leaned against fences and walls. The lot attendant looked as us, secure in the layers of his special insulated suit.

I had intended to look at each and every tree; finding the perfect one might mean the difference in having a magazine-perfect holiday instead of an average one. This year I am the hostess and I have visions of perfectly cooked dinners and beautifully wrapped presents underneath that perfect tree. Everyone would dress in rich, beautiful clothes and admire how well I had done my role.

But he has forgotten his hat, and the subzero winds are burning his eyes. He is miserable, and suddenly my perfect tree and magazine Christmas don't seem to matter as much. I pick the second tree I see, and within minutes we are back in my creaky car. Heat blasting, heading back towards home and a holiday that may not be magazine-perfect; it may be lumpy or burnt or disorganized. But it will be filled with the people I love, and I will be happy.


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