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Eulogy for a Christmas companion

December 18, 2009

When I was a kid, we had one of those put-it-together-yourselves Christmas trees. It had what looked like a broom handle painted green for a trunk, with holes drilled in it, into which you inserted fake pine branches. When it was all put together… well, picture the “before” version of Charlie Brown’s tree from the Peanuts Christmas special, and you’ll get a pretty good idea.

It turns out that my wife had pretty much exactly the same tree growing up. (She and her sisters used to lie underneath it and pretend they were presents.) The thing is, while my dad went through “have-to-have-a-live-tree” and “a-really-good-fake-tree-is-a-lot-less-work” phases, her parents had never bothered to upgrade, and were still using it until a few years ago.

When they finally bought a really nice artificial tree (seven feet tall, pre-strung with lights, looks better than the real thing), we decided to surprise her dad with a “funeral” for the old tree. We had everything you need: mourners, my brother-in-law the pastor providing a little (hysterical) sermon, and me reciting this sonnet eulogizing the dear departed. (Because really, what’s a funeral without a drunken Scotsman reciting poetry?)

Eulogy for a Christmas Companion

Alas, in this, his thirty-second year,
A stalwart Yule companion has retired.
No longer shall his branches be attired
In angel’s hair, this ersatz pine so dear.
Whose limbs didst shelter many a sleepy head
Bedazzled by his boughs, bedecked with balls,
And draped with tips of fire and tinsel shawls,
Long past the hour when they should be abed.
And though he will remain in family lore,
His time is past. For if or not we should,
A Douglas fir now stands where once he would.
Our Charlie Brown compatriot is no more.
So lift the glass, and shout one last, “Wassail!”
To our departed friend, so sparse and frail.

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