Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hilo Days: A Little Tree Grows … BIG

We don’t always get the chance to cut down our own Christmas trees these days; in fact, that’s kind of rare, either a special treat for the kids or a magical tradition for the family.
Here’s a story I ran in my Hilo Days website about my one experience with bringing home a real live tree that outgrew the space we’d allotted for it at my grandmother’s house.
Our Special Christmas Tree
My grandparents used to attend the Hilo Hongwanji Church. Dad went there too until he converted to Christianity in the Army. They had some sort of preschool program at the church, or maybe it was a summer fun program. Can't remember for sure.
I went there once (I believe on a trial basis). There was the usual song singing, ring around the rosy, London Bridge is falling down, and similar kiddie type activities. We also took afternoon naps (just couldn't get away from them).
I think it was on one of the special Japanese culture days that we all received gifts of seedling pines. Now that I think of it, that was a pretty nifty gift and I've often wondered why nobody does that anymore. We took the tree home and planted it in a little rectangular garden beside the house. Dad once told me they used to raise koi there, but decided to fill the pool up and use it as a garden.
The tree became part of the landscape, and grew, and grew, and grew.
In fact, it grew there until I was in the sixth grade. By 1955, the tree was pretty big and I recall Dad telling us he was going to cut it down and bring it home to use as our Christmas tree (by this time we had moved to our new home at 25 Ekaha Street, just below the Kaumana area in Hilo).
Quite frankly, it was exciting to help Dad bring the tree into the house. It was so fresh and it smelled so good, and it was like we were bringing an old friend home. Alas, it was indeed a big tree too big for our living room, in fact. So Dad had to haul it back out and down to his office where the ceiling was higher. Best Christmas tree his office ever had!
I've often wondered whether we did the right thing by cutting down the tree. After all, it was practically a gift from God and had grown along with me through the years. I don't know all the particulars or the reasons why Dad did it; actually, I don't care. It looked great in his office.

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