Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Card, A Christmas Memory

Anders Leonard Zorn, 1860 -1920
Oil on canvas, 1928
Zorn Museum, Mora, Darlana, Sweden
"Warmest Wishes for the Holiday Season"
Have you ever found a Christmas card that seemed to be the one you would want to send year after year, just because it expresses visually and literally exactly what you want to say ?
Some years ago, I found a set of boxed cards at Rich's Department Store, printed by the Caspari company of New York & Zurich. The image was the above painting framed by a rich gold and deep red border and the message inside was simple. I think I bought every box they had. I have about ten cards left. I even had one matted and framed. I love the simplicity of the girl and the tree. As a young teen, the last of my parents' four children and the only one at home, the task of finding a tree often fell to me. My father was suffering the ravages of cancer, and I tried to help my mother any way I could. Those quiet, peaceful treks into the pine woods behind our home made me long for the times when my father was well and my sister Sue and I would find the tree. I was growing up, I knew. It was a bit frightening, but I was determined to get out all the old family ornaments and colored lights, and make Christmas for my mom and dad who had done so for all of us for so many years. So, I suppose when I saw this painting, I literally saw myself -- Marnie in the Woods--a place I always loved to be. I know that Zorn's Sweden is a long way from Alabama, but the joy and magic simplicity of a native pine tree that filled our home with its scent, glowed with soft colored bulbs, and shimmered with boxes of glass ornaments and aluminum icicles will remain with me always.
Please accept this as my Christmas card to each of you who honor me with your visits here.
"And so as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, everyone."


Country Girl said...

Well it's no wonder you liked the card as much as you do. Hope your holiday is filled with love and happiness. What more could one want!

Betsy said...

It's a gorgeous card! And soooo you! Have a wonderful, merry Christmas! :)

Rowan said...

A lovely card, I hope that you managed to make Christmas for your mum and dad that year, the memories must be bittersweet. I love your header photograph too. Merry Christmas!

Derrick said...

Hello FireLight,

Thank you for the card and wishes. I hope your Christmas will be magical, warm and filled with those you love.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Thank you for sharing this poignant story with us. So touching. Merry Christmas and have a Blessed New Year.

Lizzie said...

Merry Christmas to you!! Wishing you the best.

A Scattering said...

A gentle, yet stunning painting. I found your story sweet and touching. Thanks for sharing that memory. I was 17 when my mother died and one of my Christmas traditions is to keep my tree up until January 6th - Old Christmas Day - as that was when my mother took our tree down. She kept our tree up until then each year in memory of her mother who passed away on that date the year my parents married. Isn't it intersting how we weave our stories?

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat