Christmas, Pinecones and Memories

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Thanksgiving Holiday is over. We chose to celebrate it quietly with just the four of us – my two children, my wife and me. Getting us all together under one roof is becoming less and less frequent, so I cherished these moments dearly.

My wife usually don’t cook turkey since most of the time we celebrate Thanksgiving with several friends who takes care of preparing the turkey. This time my wife tried her hand on cooking the turkey and I would say it turned out fine. She also cooked turkey-less stuffed roast, as both of our kids are vegetarian. She even prepared green-beans casserole and mashed potatoes to complete the traditional Thanksgiving meal and they were good. We can pass as Pilgrims!

This does not mean we’re getting less Filipino though, for I prefer daing na bangus anytime over the turkey.

This morning, my wife started decorating for Christmas. In fact last week we tag our tree from the Christmas tree farm and we’ll harvest it and take it home next weekend. The lights on the roof of our house also went up a couple of days ago. With the arrival of cold air and snow it is really beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

One of the first Christmas decoration my wife took out from the basement and placed on display is a mini-Christmas tree made out of pinecones (photo below). It may not be that glitzy but to us it is priceless.

This holiday decor was not bought in some exquisite store nor imported from far-away country. It is instead made here in Iowa, in fact home-made by my children during their homeschooling days. I believe my daughter was in second grade and my son was in pre-school. We also just moved into our home at that time. My kids collected all those pinecones from our yard and with the help of their mother they glued them together and created a mini-Christmas tree.

Over the years, even though we have new and updated Christmas ornaments, this pinecone Christmas tree always made it out of storage and proudly appeared in different places of our home.

The cute little hands that constructed this Christmas decor are fully grown now. They have found other fancies to create. My daughter is done with her Master’s degree and got her fingers busy running through pianos, cellos and books. While my son is now a sophomore in college and also involve in a research laboratory using his hands to tinker genes of bacteria. They definitely moved on beyond collecting pinecones in our backyard.

Sadly to say, the pine trees that produce those specific pinecones were gone now too. We had two of them cut down as they died some years back. They were planted just outside the kitchen window, and you’ll see them while washing the dishes (supposed to be the view on the photo above).

Apparently the cause of the death of our pine trees were from “pine wilt.” It is an infestation of a round worm spread by pine sawyer beetle. The worm feeds and reproduce in the resin channels of the tree which blocks their ability to transport water leading to its rapid death.

It is a good thing we have different species of pine trees in our yard that are more resistant to this worm infestation. Those trees continue to grow and flourish.

However, no worms, nor beetles, nor passing of time can take away from me the precious memories flowing out from that dinky pinecone Christmas tree.


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