That first line of the Bee Gees (and Jose Feliciano) song entitled "First of May" kept playing in my head when we assembled the Christmas tree that mom gave us when we went home to have the parol fixed.
The last time that this tree was set up, believe it or not, was when my sister and I were in our elementary years. Yup, that was DECADES ago - in the 70's!
Rewind to a Christmas Past
My dad brought home this huge and heavy box. We the kids were so awed that we'd finally have our Christmas tree. The box was filled with what I thought were hundreds of small tree plastic branches.
I swear it took us several weeks to assemble the tree. I don't remember my dad helping in setting it up as he's mostly averse to mundane household chores. :) I believe we used stools and chairs to reach the tree just so we could help mom put in place the plastic branches.
But when the tree was finally up, wow! We simply marveled at how gigantic it was! I remember looking up towards the ceiling just to see the topmost part.
It was around 8 or 9 feet high by my estimate. Frankly, I don't even remember the trimmings and tree decorations (if ever there were any) that were hung.
Seeing the robust tree that nearly blocked the the stairs and seemingly touched the first floor ceiling of our home in Pampanga was enough to blow my mind away.
Soon the holidays were over and it was time to take the tree down. Groan, another back breaking tedious work I thought. My mom suggested to us kids that we be more organized in disassembling and storing away the tree branches. This is presumably to facilitate the setting up the tree in the coming years.
My mom gave my sister and I some plastic bags to store the different sized branches. It was up for us label the plastic bags with the branch numbers which would correspond to the level of the tree they would attach.
Goodness, I thought we spent a few weeks just to take down the tree and correctly label the pieces.
And that was that.
Sadly, I never saw the tree put up again. I no longer know the exact reason. Was the "work" to put up (and take down) the tree way too much for us kids back then?
Was the tree just too big that it dwarfed our living room and limited our movement? More than thirty years ago, those two reasons were probably enough.
Fast Forward to Christmas Present
Mom offered to give us that tree still intact in the box. She said it wasn't too "practical" to put up the tree as there were no kids in their home. I also hinted that my kids, especially Renz, were up and ready to set up the tree.
"Now we are tall, and Christmas trees are small..."
After getting home with the Pampanga tree, Che and Renz immediately opened the tree's box. After seeing the contents, I thought there was a mistake. The plastic branches seemed too few and the plastic tree trunk seemed too short.
But no, the pieces suggested otherwise.
Che, decided to work on the tree. She declared it was too easy to put up anyway. Here's Che and Renz putting in the branches from bottom to top.
Huh? Where was the gigantic tree I remembered as an elementary kid? Was this the same tree that my sister and I labored so much just to put up?
Renz asked about a scribbled note on a piece of paper in a plastic bag. The number "2" looked like a "Q". Horrible handwriting, he exclaimed. What?!? That was MY handwriting more than 30 years ago! We wrote on these pieces of paper to label the branches.
A bit of nostalgia suddenly swept me. Yes, this WAS that same tree!
Fully assembled, the tree was less than 6 feet high. Seeing it physically there shattered what I knew about this tree all these years.
The following day, DH pulled out the branches to retool the branches' inserts. She said the tree looked all new and never been used. She wanted to remove the excess plastic so the branch inserts would fit snugly into the tree trunk.
Here she reassembles the tree from top to bottom, which she argues is easier to do.
"When I was small and Christmas trees were tall...
Doodoodoo... doodoo... doodoo... doodoo..."