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Friday, December 23, 2011

The Jew with a Charismas Tree


6th December 2011
Dear Cassi,
   
One of the more quirky things I recall about the holidays is that before she passed away my mother insisted on having a real Christmas tree. This was a point of note only because my mother was a practicing Reform Jew.
   
To be honest, my mother was never very religious but was a stubborn sort who held to her belief as a protest to the world around her. We celebrated Christian holidays as did anyone else but kept also the days of the Hebrew calendar. 
   
The tree was a large business for us with wood ornaments and lights. Under it we put our Chanukah gifts and opened one a day. Trimming the tree was something family did together and anything like that was something my mother loved. To be honest with you we had Chinese New Year ever now and again and it was loads of fun.
   
The real tree was a major point of conversation for my father who complained about it with my mother sixteen years in the ground. Given that they had not been married twenty three years at the time makes me think that the old man was one to hold a grudge.
   
That would be the nature of my family for you, even the good things turn bitter. The old man wants to pretend nothing is wrong, but no one asks why I’m not there during the holidays.

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal