Memories of Christmas: Disaster averted, and a new appreciation for Christmas merriment
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Editor's note -- Writer Margaret Plevak has found some of the magic of the season, from the carols on the radio and the twinkling lights throughout the neighborhood to the pageants held on elementary school stages.
Each day this week on WalworthCountyToday.com, we'll publish a favorite Christmas Memory from a Walworth County resident. Read all the memories in Walworth County Sunday HERE.
David Bretl, Walworth County administrator: All of the elements of a perfect Currier-and-Ives scene were in place the last year we kept a real Christmas tree in the house. Snow fell, but, as if out of some strange courtesy to our traveling guests that Christmas Eve, the large flakes melted upon contact with the street. Even my brother-in-law, who is normally in a deep “REM” sleep 10 minutes after dessert is served, was awake and conversant. Motivated in equal parts by the spirit of the season and the mulled wine that we had served all afternoon, my normally reserved family actually took to the streets to sing carols.
As my guests were getting ready to leave, my wife observed that during our merriment, a candle, on the dining room table, had burned down and its flame was touching the evergreen branches which surrounded it. In the time it took for her to comment on the boughs, which were now smoldering, the entire centerpiece erupted into flames. Sparks showered the room, landing on the carpet, the furniture and, of most concern to me, in the direction of the 8-foot tall, very dry Christmas tree.
Fortunately, the whole centerpiece was on a tray which I grabbed and was able to throw out the front door. The incident led to a lot of good-natured kidding from my family about this new traditional of the flaming wreath throw. What if carolers had been at our front door? Maybe this could be a new Olympic event?
Aside from a few minor burns on my hands and a couple of new holes in the couch, we avoided being homeless that Christmas Eve. The incident put into perspective any stress that normally accompanies Christmas Day in a household with young children. Kids quarreling I can deal with. Sixteen parts missing from my son’s toy that I have been assembling for the past two hours, no problem. At least we have a home.
Read other memories of Christmas from local residents in the Dec. 19, 2010 e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, HERE.