I wrote this story last year right before Christmas. I sat looking at this little wire tree I had gotten for my grandson, Nathan on his first Christmas. Unfortunately the little tree didn’t make it through last Christmas. However it is missed and fondly remembered for the love and joy it gave us before it’s death. I hope you enjoy it’s tale.-PG
It sat on the shelf, one of fifty of the newest Christmas decorations, a multi-colored diode Christmas Tree. It was perfect. It looked like a Christmas tree, and its diodes burned cool and flashed between Red, Yellow and Green. Everyone who saw them thought they were cool, and they were flying off the shelves. This particular decoration wanted to go home to a loving family whom it could help enjoy the Season of the Birth of Christ.
The little diode tree watched as its brothers and sister flew out the door. Finally, it was the only one left, and it began to worry that it wasn’t going to find a home for Christmas. Then HE walked in. Bald and leaning on a cane the man looked all around the store. He seemed to be looking for something in particular. He picked up several pre-lit trees and put them back, and then he approached the Little Diode Tree. He picked it up and turned it around and around. The little Diode Tree began to wish this person would take him home. Subsequently just when the tree was convinced that he was once again not going to be chosen the man whispered, “Perfect”. He looked for one in a box and couldn’t find any. Then he picked up the Little Diode Tree and the empty box it was displayed on and went to the Cash register. “Is this the only one of these you have left?”
“Yes, sir, those were quite popular this year. We’ve sold over a hundred of them.”
“Well, I really want this one. Will you sell it even though it was your display model?”
“Certainly, sir. I’ll even give you a discount since we’ve been using it.”
With that the clerk rang up the Little Diode Tree and placed it in the box. The Tree thanked God for giving him a home for Christmas. Soon enough the tree was being pulled out of the box and plugged in. The little tree looked around at his new home and his new family. There was the man who had purchased him and sitting on his lap clapping and squealing was an excited toddler.
“Nathan, this is your Christmas tree. You can’t touch the big tree; the things on it will break, but this tree is Nathan’s tree.”
The little toddler reached out and gave the tree a hug. The tree was crushed and didn’t look like the perfect Christmas tree anymore, but he was loved and sharing in the family’s Christmas celebration, and he was happy. That night and every night after that Nathan would play with him and set and watch him flash his diodes and every night at bedtime Nathan’s mommy or pawpaw would unplug him and carry him to the top of Nathan’s bed and plug him in again. The Little Diode Tree would blink all night long and help keep little Nathan from being afraid of the dark.
The Christmas season ended, and all the decorations were put away except for the little Christmas tree. He stayed out until Nathan’s second birthday when Nathan’s mommy got him a star generator for a night-light, and the Little Diode Tree went into the box of Christmas decorations.
The next year out came the decorations, and almost three-year-old Nathan was happy to see his Little Diode Christmas tree. Yes, the Little Diode Tree was a bit misshaped by the love of the last year and the time in his box but pawpaw straightened him as best he could and then surprise, surprise they showed the Little Diode tree to Nathan and his new baby brother. Now the Little Diode Tree wouldn’t stand watch over one precious child but two. Pawpaw reminded Nathan. “Now you can’t touch the big tree, Nathan, and you can’t let your brother touch it, but both of you can play with this little Tree all you want. It is Nathan and Alexander’s Christmas tree.”
So for another season the Little Diode Tree was part of the family’s Christmas celebration, and the boys did touch him, they hugged him and played with him, and the Little Diode Tree looked less and less like a Christmas tree. Once the holiday season was gone the Little Diode Tree looked very pitiful. It wasn’t shaped like a Christmas Tree anymore. It really looked more like a sad and twisted Mountain Pine. Some of its diodes didn’t light any more and there was some talk about how much use they had gotten out of the cheap little decoration. Once again, the tree was boxed up and put away with all the decorations to wait the next year,
Before Christmas could come around again the Little Diode Tree caught a conversation that pawpaw was having about them having to move, and that they weren’t going to take anything they didn’t absolutely have to have. They were moving to a small apartment and Nathan and his brother and mommy were moving into their own little apartment. The little Diode Tree wondered if it would be considered something they had to have. He knew he wasn’t as pretty as some of the other decorations. He knew he had some of his diodes that didn’t work anymore, and he knew he had been crushed and straightened so many times that his family might think he wasn’t worth the limited space they had in their new apartments.
The day of the move came, and everything was being loaded into the truck but none of the Christmas decorations had been loaded. It looked like the family was going to get brand new decorations for their new houses. The Little Diode Tree felt sad, but he understood; all decorations knew they would only be around until they were replaced. He understood but he really wished he could spend only one more Christmas with Nathan and little brother Alexander. Then, just before the family left for the last time, the box of decorations was picked up and placed outside with a ‘free to good home’ sign placed on them. However, at the last possible second pawpaw stopped the truck and came back to the box of Christmas stuff. He opened the box, and the Little Diode Tree heard him say, “I know it was in one of these boxes… come on, where are you?” Then after rustling in the box the Diode tree heard, “Ah, there you are!” Pawpaw’s hands scooped him up from inside the box. The little Diode Tree was worried; it’s time in the box hadn’t been kind, and it was mostly just a ball of twisted wires and a very few diodes. But pawpaw didn’t seem to care. He placed it in a box in the back of the truck, and away they went.
Today was Thanksgiving and pawpaw and grandma had Nathan’s family over to eat turkey and help decorate their brand new Christmas tree. They brought out all the brand new decorations and put them up on the tree. As they were getting done Nathan and Alexander’s mom pulled out the Little Diode Tree and looked over its sad little condition. “Dad, why did you bring this, of all things? It looks worse than Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.”
Pawpaw took the crumpled Little Diode Tree and sat in his chair carefully untangling and straightening its wires and diodes. When he was done the Little Diode Tree was worried. He didn’t much resemble a tree at all; instead he looked more like a loose collection of wires and diodes. He was ugly and he knew it. He wouldn’t hold it against papa if they did throw him away. Nevertheless, his little electronic heart did a huge leap as papa plugged him in and Nathan and Alexander clapped and gathered around him. “Oh, no,” Pawpaw said. “I would get rid of the big fancy tree before I got rid of this Little Diode Christmas Tree. He’s part of our family Tradition and as long as a single diode lights, he will always have a place in our Christmas decorations. He reminds me that Christmas is not just about Jesus but a time for children. This little tree isn’t perfect and pretty, but it is full of love and understanding.”
The Little Diode Tree felt the current as Pawpaw plugged him in and once again told his grandsons, “Remember, you can’t touch the big tree but this is Nathan and Alexander’s Christmas tree, and you can play with it as long as you share.” As both brothers squealed and reached for the Little Diode Tree it blinked its diodes with all the love it had to give.