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We had a horrific discovery yesterday — the box with all our Christmas ornaments is missing.  We last saw it packed up for the move, and know it is neither here nor there.  We don’t see them being stolen, and I wonder if they got caught up with donated items in all the confusion in early August.

But this isn’t about “decorations” — it’s about ornaments from the Old Country, the Great Depression, two world wars, relatives that passed, trips and travels, childhood memories, small photos, gifts on our first newlywed Christmas, and the signed cards from our wedding that Merry turned into ornaments.  Even the traditional pickle that was hidden on the tree since long before Merry met me as a multi-generation family tradition.

We have some money to buy new ones, but few of them could come close to ever being replaced.  It’s times like these that the impermanence of things falls around you, and you want to cling to memories that you know may someday fade as well.  And now looking at a Christmas tree will never be the same.

Our first Christmas here in the new house … the excitement of Merry buying me a Santa Fe train like I had growing up and setting it up under the tree is bittersweet.  Nothing is ever the same as we remember it.   And we walked a mile or so each way in the snow with a wagon last weekend to buy a real tree down the street, picking one that had room for the huge collection of ornaments that are now … it’s hard for me to say it yet … gone.  We can only hope to fill them in with equally memory-invoking items over the years and pass down what’s left.

It makes me question all the silly things that I’ve saved over the years — paperwork and records that are factual but not really about life, in comparison to things that are worth remembering and retelling to the people you Love.  Hopefully this will be a sort of fresh start for the better in some small way.