Death Amid the Ribbon and Garland

Every so often Jeff or I will marvel at an object or occurrence that shows just how different our lives are since we met, like when I stood at the stove in my little apron and said aloud to no one, “I’m making cheese grits for Thanksgiving. What planet am I on?”

death-on-treeIt’s not just the differences between Chicago and Texas that are cause for amazement but also the ways our personalities each add a foreign flavor to the other’s experience of home life.

And so it happened the other day that Jeff walked into the living room, shook his head in amused disbelief and said, “There’s death on my Christmas tree.”

Jeff isn’t big on metaphors so I naturally thought he was being literal, but how?

Jeff: “You have some weird ornaments.”

Dawn: “Oh! You’re talking about my Grim Reaper!”

Now, it makes perfect sense for the Grim Reaper, AKA Death, to be there among the tinsel and twinkle lights when you see that he (is it a he?) is carrying a tombstone marked “Ebenezer Scrooge.” And beside him is a man overburdened with chains, ingots and padlocks — that’s Jacob Marley. I bought the pair of ornaments at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, where I saw “A Christmas Carol.” It’s fantastic. You should see it.

I don’t know which of the other ornaments qualifies as “weird.” Maybe the topless mermaid? The octopus? Van Gogh’s chair? The bird dressed in vestments? Oh, wait. Jeff bought me that last one.

I’m curious what kinds of weird and whimsical ornaments others have on their trees. Do tell! I’d like to be able to provide proof to Jeff that death on a Christmas tree is hardly as weird as it gets.



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