A Truly Sad Looking Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
It truly is a sad looking Charlie Brown Christmas tree. A sad and pathetic sight greeting any
would be visitor that makes the mistake of knocking on the door. If it had been a real spruce, fir,
or pine, any self-respecting lot would have feed it to the nearest wood chipper. Even good-
hearted ol’ Linus would not have taken that thing home.
No matter where you stand, there seems to be uninterrupted view of the painted green metal rod
that each branches plugged into. If you stare long enough at it, a person can see a slight curve in
it like the inner thigh of a cowboy that had been on a trail drive for too many days. It is what
happens when an artificial tree is placed next to a basement furnace nine or ten months out of the
year for decades on end.
The yellow, red, and blue paint can still be seen at the twisted wire end of each branch that
connects to the pole. If one follows the color and number sequence found in the directions each
branch inserts into the proper hole. Yet, none of that really matters as it is carried down to the
unfinished basement in one piece each January as the directions disappeared decades ago. Any
attempt to take it apart and reassemble it properly would be a fool’s errand at best.
Each strand of lights and every ornament hang like the straw that broke the camels back on the
branches. And no matter how hard one would try could never rid its of decades of basement dust.
There is always that thought that one of the branches might recognize their plight and simply
collapse under the toil age and weight.
The holy family, shepherds, and wise men ornaments are none the worse for wear despite their
age, except for a sheep that disappeared late one night at the paws of the family cat. The place
has been cleaned and the furniture moved probably a thousand times and they have been found.
It is quite a mystery and frequently speculated on where the wooden remains of those sheep
It was decided decades ago that it might be best to hang some of the more expensive or heartfelt
ornaments from the garland wrapped around the bannister of staircase rather than risk having
them slip off that tree and free fall to the hard wooden floor.
A yellowish angel, I am sure she was once white, but age does that, in a beautiful dress is
perched on top to proclaim the good news. It truly is a sad old Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
Even my friend knows it casts a pathetic pall over the room and has long since passed its
expiration date. Almost every year he talks about putting this old thing on the curb and hitting
the post holiday sales for a new one, but he never quite gets around to it.
To tell the truth, he didn’t want the sad looking thing in the first place. As a child, the youngest
in the family, he used to drive his father crazy by forcing him to visit almost every tree lot in the
city. His father naturally assumed his final child was just a perfectionist, trying find to find a tree
that was grown to be placed in their living room. Truth be told, it never had a thing to do with
perfection but those lots felt like being in a forest in my friend’s little kid mind.
His oldest brother came home on leave from the army a few days before Christmas, walked in
the door, hugged his mother, and saw their was no tree up yet. He walked out the door and
returned a few hours later with one of the first artificial trees sold in the department store. That
little tree became a symbol of coming home for him. Until one year he didn’t. It was the war. It
was the first time my friend ever saw his mother break down in such an uncontrollable way. It is
still difficult for him to talk about that Christmas.