Chester Chatter: The best Christmas tree

By Ruthie Douglas
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Getting out my Christmas decorations this year, I pause a moment. As I hold an ornament in my hand, memories flow by as I recall how some came into my family to adorn our Christmas trees.

We lost our home to a fire right after the Christmas of 1976. We lost almost everything including all the beautiful ornaments that hung on our tree. Hand-painted, blown glass birds from my Canadian grandmother; ornaments that our girls made at school; gifts that special friends gave to us every year; baubles that Don brought home from his business trips.

The year after, when we set up our tree in our rebuilt home, the girls and I realized we had no decorations.  “Well girls,” I said, “this year, we start from scratch. Maybe this weekend we’ll buy some ornaments and make some as well.”  On that Friday afternoon, car after car arrived filled with friends who came to help decorate our tree.  They came with boxes filled with ornaments and lights. They brought Christmas music and lemonade and treats and we all decorated that tree.

Our tree turned out to be beautiful, every branch filled with love from and to our neighbors. Now, after all these years, I hold some of these memories in my hands, including the origami snowflakes one dear friend created from paper.

Scene and heard

Our firefighters did their best in fighting the fire at John O’Neil’s home in Mountain View on Tuesday night. Their very best kept other homes from catching afire.

I have been blessed with some delicious Christmas dinners. V-Tel, the annual Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner, organized by Pat Budnick, and a meal dropped off by dear friends have certainly kicked off this wonderful holiday season. Turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce and cherry and apple pie. Thank you to all who worked so hard to provide such festive meals to so many people and those who delivered them!

My dear neighbor, who shall remain anonymous, and Linnea Palmer helped me decorate my fence.

Never forget Pearl Harbor.



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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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  1. Leo Graham says:

    Hi Ruthie -I always read you first:
    I remember one Chester citizen who always remembered Pearl Harbor Day, it was her birthday.
    Arminella Severance lived to be well over 100-years.
    She lived in the same house on Grafton St. for decades. She was said, by me among others, to have been graced with a most tart tongue.