Christmas Tree, USA
Many years have passed since this picture, and in place of the old-time car and the horse-drawn sleigh, you're more liable to see SUV's, hybrids, Smart cars, Mini Coopers, kids on scooters and skateboards...Unless you see the matriarch of the Taylor family, Eleanor Pearl Houseman Taylor out and about, still running herself around town in the black Model T she and her husband, Walter Taylor, purchased shortly after their marriage in 1931. Be sure to keep out a sharp eye for her, because her sight isn't what it used to be and she's always been rather fond of driving down the exact middle of the street. At 98 years old, Mrs. Taylor is only a couple months younger than the oldest Christmas Tree, USA citizen. That honor belongs to Arthur Keller. Mr. Keller, more popularly known as 'Cap,' thanks to the rank he held in the United States Army during the Second World War, can always be found walking the sidewalks after the first snow, wearing nothing more than a light pullover cardigan over well-pressed slacks. "Bastogne," he says when chided about needing to bundle up against the cold, "Now that was cold. Don't figure I've been that cold since." But he'll let you buy him a cup of coffee at the diner on the corner of Evergreen Avenue and Holly Berry Way now and again, and thank you earnestly for your kindness to an old man.
In a long-standing town tradition, Cap Keller and Mrs. Taylor are given the honor of lighting the Christmas tree in the town square. Yes, Christmas Tree, USA still has a town square, and it's a source of pride for all its citizens. The Christmas Tree Lighting happens the first Saturday in December and is a big festival event with hot chocolate booths, fudge and candy carts, a craft fair and a large bonfire for everyone to gather around. After the tree is light, Christmas carols are sung, and indeed, sung as folks trudge back to their cars and homes.
Music to accompany today's post, brought to you by Mr. Frank Sinatra: I'll Be Home For Christmas, Jingle Bells, White Christmas, The Christmas Song, and O Little Town of Bethlehem.
At Christmas, all roads lead home.