The ornaments and decorations are kept in five boxes and three bags. For most of the year they are stored in a back corner of the attic. Every December for the last twenty-seven years I have carried them down from the attic to the living room. Kathy took over from there and has decorated the house for every Christmas that we have lived here. The house looks great once everything is distributed and not once in the last twenty-seven years have I had anything to do with it.
My jobs are simple and few. Get the tree in the stand; hang the glass star on a hook too high for Kathy to reach and place the cloth angel on top of the tree once the other ornaments are hung. Kathy has done the rest and I have always taken for granted that she always will.
These days we measure our lives by the chemotherapy treatments that come every three weeks and blood tests every six weeks or so. Thus far, there has only been good news and we now start our mornings drinking coffee together while reading the newspapers. I still awake at five minutes after five most mornings but she doesn’t join me until the papers are in and the coffee is made.
And while the water boils I have studied the decorations and the ornaments that Kathy has placed around the house year after year, remembering when they were given and what our lives were like then. The fireplace stockings made by my mother-in-law. A Charlie Brown Christmas tree that was Abby’s when she was away at school. The crèche we bought during a visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem in 1991 and the Christmas tree ornaments we have collected since we were married in 1986.
This year I take pictures to catalogue where everything is supposed to go, though I hope that I will never be responsible for decorating the house, at least not for many more years.
But should that Christmas arrive I want to know where everything goes so that I can look back and remember the happy times at Christmas we have spent here, together.