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Could Have Been Bittersweet...

What is so hard about taking down a Christmas tree?
While I napped the family put up the
tree.  What a surprise!

Nothing really, but my emotions got the better of me and big alligator tears began to fall about mid-day yesterday. This was the first Christmas without Dave. I managed to get through it without too many tears. The family came in for Christmas and my retirement from OU. Yes I am officially retired.  

It was a beautiful tree this year filled with lots of handmade ornaments and pictures of the girls when they were little.
Dave's one year old
Christmas Card. It
has been hung on the
tree every year for
72 Years.  
This is what almost made
the evening bittersweet.
Note the words.

It was perfect.  Dave surprised me a few years back and bought it for our to be 5th wheel. It will fit nicely in the motor home. Our tradition is we set the tree up Christmas eve and leave it up for the 12 days of Christmas and take it down the day after Epiphany. I was several days late in taking it down this year as I needed my helper to get the boxes down from the closet to pack away the many ornaments I have. 
Ornaments from 1942 Canada

Ben, my helper, is a 16 year old who loves manual labor.  He takes care of my lawn for me and is helping me sort out the junk that I am trying to get rid of. He came over to rake up the leaves in my driveway and to move some furniture for me. My angel in disguise went to the tree without any prompts and started removing all the ornaments. He seemed to understand that I would become a sobbing mess if I had to take them off the tree.  He is wise beyond his years and such a blessing to me. 

I spent the rest of my evening watching Downton Abby and tenderly packing way ornaments and other Christmas decorations without it being bittersweet. The evening left me thankful for the many blessings I have. 
My helper Ben

Thanks Ben!