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Dad's Christmas Tree

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Dad's Christmas Tree
The year was 1967 when Dad came home with a different type of Christmas Tree?
[1,263 words]
Writing Resource
Ruby Alexandra Beloz
My Name is Ruby Alexandra Beloz. I was born in Los Angeles, Ca in 1953. I am a Quality Engineer and I write poetry. I have been published in two books: Poems of Distant Wars and Who will cry for the Soldiers. This is my 1st short story
[October 2004]
Dad's Christmas Tree
Ruby Alexandra Beloz

The day my Dad came home with a bit of the future and a glimmer of magic inside a great big box,
I can still hear my Mom’s voice outside in the driveway where my Dad parked the car: “Honey, what’s inside the box.”
My Dad told her to put the coffee on, that she was gonna need it!

I can still remember the look on my Mom’s face like it was yesterday.
My Dad had arrived home with a fake aluminum Christmas tree that he bought at the May Co. department store in downtown Los Angeles.
This Christmas tree was like no tree I’d ever seen; it was silver in color and was seven feet tall. It rotated 360 degrees, had a color projector
that made the tree shimmer with every color of the rainbow, looked a rocket ship, and even had a music box built right into base of the tree that played many different Christmas carols.

The year was 1967.

Dad was so proud our new family Christmas tree; he set it up in the living room right in front of the big window that faced the street.
He tried to convince my mother that he had purchased the latest and greatest Christmas tree of its time.
My Dad was way ahead of his time. You got to hand it to my Mom, she smiled back at my Dad, thus, in her own way let him know it was OK even if we had a Christmas tree that looked like it could take off into orbit at any second.

At that moment my Dad knew he had won my Mom over.
I guess it helped that my Dad was good looking and
had a big smile like some movie star.

People used to walk by our home and stop dead in their tracks and, tilting their heads from side to side would just stare at our tree not quite understanding what they had just seen.
I’m sure some people wondered if Martians had just landed at the Beloz home.

I remember this Christmas tree prompted a real love/hate reaction in anyone who saw it for the first time.
We didn’t even know what to make of it ourselves, to tell you the truth. It wasn’t a traditional green Christmas tree and it certainly didn’t smell like a real pine tree either.
To make matters worse, it was made of aluminum of all things.
One thing I did know was that my Dad loved that tree and that was all that mattered.

If you knew my Dad you would have known him to be the latest, greatest gadget type of guy.
He loved big Lincoln Continentals with big chrome bumpers with all the bells and whistles,
and you could bet that car came equipped with every type of electronic gadget that was available in those days.

Dad loved playing his Christmas carols vinyl records on his German made Telefunken Stereo player.
He would play songs sung by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and, oh ya, what would Christmas be with out
Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”? Singing Christmas carols around the tree made it more fun while we were decorating it.

Those moments spent in decorating the tree with my Dad were pure magic;
nothing seemed to interfere with our lives. All was good in the Beloz home.
My Dad always made us feel safe even though, outside the walls of our home,
our country was going through the civil rights movement in the south.
There was constant violence being played out on the television set and the
outbreak of the Vietnam War had just let out a cry in full swing. Soldiers were dying every day.

Protesters were marching in Washington, and all over the Untied States
our American youth were hitchhiking, riding buses or taking trains to protest the Vietnam War and to support civil rights.
We were living in fearful times. So much was changing so rapidly around us that we didn’t know what to make of it,
but one thing was certain - it was Christmas in the Beloz home and family was important to us.

I remember the best part of those evenings was decorating the tree with Dad.
It was an all-night adventure and we would talk and laugh for hours.
My Dad was a Korean War Veteran and he would tell us silly army stories about his buddies while they were all over seas.
He even told us how he learned to ski in Korea.
He would tell us jokes that would have us tears because they were so funny.

Dad would sneak a kiss off my Mom as she passed by into the living room to bring us more goodies;
she would just blush and tell my Dad: not in front of the kids!
Mom would labor all day in the kitchen making her traditional hand made tamales.
The house would be filled with the scents and aromas of Mexican spices and red and green chili-peppers.
She made two types of tamales, one of red chili with pork and, my personal favorite, green chili with cheese.
They were so good that it seemed like she never made enough of them.
All night she would bring out all kinds of goodies and treats for us to eat while decorating the tree.

Then Dad would break out the Eggnog and we would all gather around the tree.
He would make a toast for better days to come and would bow his head and thank God for all of our blessings.
Dad used the tree-decorating time with my brother, Russell and me to find out what we wanted for Christmas.
Russell and I would give Dad our usual wish list.

Back then, in the late 60s, America was in a Rock and Roll explosion;
kids all over America were listening to American Band Stand hosted by Dick Clark.
Russell was a Californian surfer he loved to listen to the Beach Boys.
But me, I liked Bob Dylan; I loved his songs and what they stood for.

Yes, the times were a’changing. That year for Christmas, Russell and I wanted portable record players.
Imagine portable record players that played 45’s and LP’s on black vinyl records. Back then it was so groovy and cool to have one because they could be taken!
No surprise, that year my Dad bought Zenith portable record players for Russell and me. Russell’s was blue and mine was white (Dad knew pink was not my most favorite color).
Dad even put a 45 of the Beatles in each of them.
My Dad and Mom gave us memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Today, I am old enough to be able to appreciate what they did for us and the many scarifies they made to bring Christmas into our home.
My Father passed away in 1994 of lung cancer, and I lost my brother Russell to skin cancer on January 24th, 2001.
They are both gone now, but the memories of decorating the tree with them is the most cherished treasure that I possess today.

“My heart is like a treasure box filled with a wealth of memories that fill my sad days with happier times.”
So many years have come and gone and I finally realize that the color of the Christmas tree or what it was made of is not what mattered most - it was the gathering around the Christmas tree that brought magic to the night before Christmas in the Beloz home.

Hey do you think my Dad has convinced Saint Peter to put a fake aluminum Christmas tree yet? You can bet on it!

Written by: Ruby Alexandra Beloz
© 12/24/02
Rewritten 10/27/04



"I think that it is really good, but it kinda of chops off right in the middle. It's like you are going on and on about this tree and how happy it made you feel because of the times, but i don't think as much detail about the times needs to be in there. For example, only explain a little about how the war was going on and that people were protesting. It seems that when you start to talk about that it is suddenly the focus of your story." -- Ashley, Evergreen Park, IL, 60805.
"i think that this story is very sentimental and important to this woman. it reminds her of her childhood and we all have those memories and this is just one of many. i think that the story was good and interesting but it was very choppy. it jumped from one idea to the next and didnt flow. it also was more deep then just a fictional story. it had history in it too. probably alot of people could relate because they also know what it was like to grow up in that time period." -- Caitlin, chicago, IL.


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© 2002 Ruby Alexandra Beloz
October 2004

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