The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Merry Christmas.

I hope yours was a great as ours. Of course, what's Christmas without a little drama. Minutes after arriving home from Christmas dinner at my brother's house, my daughter called to tell me she and my son were minutes from the house,returning from Christmas in Tennessee. That was my clue to get their wrapped presents out and under the tree and all, and then we heard the crash. A wreck in front of the house. Again! The kids? We rushed outside calling 911 and were relieved to see it was not them. But a distraught young woman and her kids, 2 toddlers, were crying. She held one, used our phone to try to call her mom, and I knelt down and held the other, little girl, close as she pulled her jacket up over her head to avoid seeing her car, the police lights and to drown out the sirens. She had the green light, the mom said.

No serious injuries, but a ruined Christmas for sure. My son and daughter got home during the confusion, and after all was calm we went inside and celebrated Christmas... those ribbons and bows I wrote about yesterday. After all that, we heard another crash. A car had hit the damaged car, giving a matching torn up front quarter and broken headlight to the one on the opposite side. "I didn't see the car. I didn't have my lights on," I heard him say as I was going out the door. The police were still there finishing up the first accident. I bet they had fun with that one.

The Birmingham News ran a story about our Christmas Trees on Christmas Day. It was the "Obama Tree" that got their attention. Part of the story is printed online.

In addition there is supposed to be a "gallery" of pictures online, but it's not there. Maybe they will post it later, if so, I will paste a link.

Here is the entire story, as printed in the paper.

Every year, Joe Openshaw fills his home with themed Christmas trees, including a patriotic tree trimmed in silver ornaments; red, white and blue icicles; and soft blue lights.

But when U.S. Sen. Barack Obama cinched the presidential election in November, Openshaw, 54, decided to give this year's patriotic tree a twist.

In addition to the regular trimmings, the tree also holds Obama campaign buttons; pictures of Obama and the Obama family that Openshaw's daughter, Marlow, printed off of the computer, laminated and adorned with ribbons; and a ticket Openshaw and partner, Bobby Prince, received to stand on stage with supporters and Michelle Obama as she made a speech in Las Vegas on Nov. 3. Nearby, are newspapers touting Obama's win, and small replicas of the Statute of Liberty and Santa Claus in American colors.

The "Tribute Tree to Our President-elect," which stands in Openshaw's 18-year-old son Daniel's bedroom, won't come down until after Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration.

"It makes me think about what our country has said to the world and to ourselves. It represents a great change," said Openshaw, a retired veterinarian.

Openshaw said he knows that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but the Obama tree is just another way to further celebrate.

"Christmas is fun. I have an enjoyment of it, and it gives other people enjoyment ,too," he said.

Celebrating Christmas with more than one tree has long been a family tradition. When Openshaw aw much younger, his mother had Christmas trees in the dining room, living room and den of their Vestavia home.

As he got older and started living on his own, he began putting a Christmas tree in different rooms of his own home.

Besides the patriotic tree, Openshaw has 10 other trees in his 1895 Bessemer home this year.

They are: a Victorian tree in the library, a pink tree with pink ornaments in a hallway; a 1950's aluminum tree in the office; two Santa-themed trees with over 200 Santa ornaments positioned in front of two upstairs windows; a "skinny" tree with gold and burgundy ornaments in the dining room; a red miniature tree in the kitchen; an elf tree in the den; a three-foot tall Norfolk pine tree with multiple silk balls in a back upstairs area; and an 11-foot tall tree decked out with family and vintage ornaments in the parlor.

The family's Christmas decor also includes wreaths, a collection of Santa salt and pepper shakers, reindeer and garland. In the library is a 1917 picture of Openshaw's father's first Christmas tree, and on display in the parlor is a Christmas Card that his father gave his mother before he was born.

"I love it. I love having my house full of Christmas in every room," said Marlow Openshaw, 22. "If he stopped decorating, it wouldn't feel like Christmas anymore."

She especially liked the Obama tree, which she's not shy about protecting.

"My best friend told me she was going to put a McCain ornament on there. I told her you go ahead and do that and we'll see how long it stays." she said.

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