Christmas came a couple of months after my divorce. I was twenty-three maybe. maybe. Then it seemed most important that I throw a very big birthday party for Jesus, a traditional throw down. I had been trained by the best Jesus birthday party thrower around. My Mom always got a huge live tree and decorated it to the exact specifications of awesomeness. White lights, candy cane ribbons, each ornament being the same distance from the other as the next. Early in the morning of the day that Jesus got older Santa would come and place under the tree all the toys we had picked from that year's Sears Wish Book. Santa never wrapped the gifts. Instead he put everything together and placed the loot under the tree in a manner rivaling any fancy department store window. Lights bounced, everything glistened and my jaw dropped. It was like Jesus invited the best magician to his birthday party. Nobody could have a better birthday party than Jesus.
Maybe I was twenty-three, but maybe I was twenty-two. Maybe Slater was one. Whether he was one or two he was still at an age where a pot and a spoon with free banging time would have provided a sufficient Jesus birthday party. A big red balloon would have been jaw dropping. He didn't care but I did. Obviously I had failed in maintaining a traditional Mama and Daddy home for him so it seemed all that more important I throw Jesus a huge bash. Yes, this is completely rational for someone who made around $6,000 that year working part time and found that her ex had cleaned out the bank account. Logic said I could skip meals in order to buy Jesus a huge live tree. So I did.
Slater was at his Nana's on the weekend I decided to make the purchase and have a couple of guys cram as much of it as possible into the back of my Nissan Sentra. I was alone that Saturday when I pulled it out and attempted to put it on a stand so Jesus would be proud and the great magician could come and perform his magic for Slater.
Within an hour the tree had wrestled me to the ground and I sat in the yard with tears streaming down my face.
It was not going to work. I had failed Jesus and Slater.
That, my friends, is the reason there is a fig limb laying across a corner of my living room floor now. Slater cut it, I put lights on a third of it and two days ago it tumbled over. Billy Sue chewed on one of the limbs, decided it wasn't so tasty and I figured we'd get it ready before the big party or not. It just seems that Jesus and Slater don't care so maybe that's why I stopped.
Still I am grateful for the living room, the limb and the lessons. And Jesus, of course.