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Soup of This Day #109: Ein Baum Von Dir Mich Hoch Erfreut!

December 9, 2011

Liverpool Bear plus Apollo 11 Lander on a Christmas tree
A bear in a tree plus an Apollo lander module. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Longworth72 style – Photo: Longworth72, 2011.

There were once 2 Christmas elves…

No wait, that’s not flowing…

Once upon a Christmas eve…

Nup. That’s not it… Hang on.. I think I have it…

Twas the night before Saturday December 10th and all through the house not a creature was stirring, except for a pair of 8 month old kittens rescued from a shelter and who you would think could show a little more gratitude to their new owners by allowing them to sleep or blog in peace, as the case may be, simply by calming their feline arses down and KNOCKING IT OFF WITH THE ROLLER DERBY THROUGH THE LIVING ROOM!!!!!

Noise cancelling headphones. Bing Crosby crooning ‘Silver Bells’. Peace on earth.

Many years ago a couple of Christmas elves grew up in a small Western Australian country town. They had a Christmas tree – A 4 foot high pole with maybe 50 or so simple tinsel-lined stick branches set perpendicular to the trunk. The effect was a cross between a mangy pine tree and a hat-rack, although neither elf would have much cared for that description – In their eyes the tree was magical. They decorated each and every branch with at least 1 and often 2 or 3 ornaments, all lovingly unwrapped from safe storage each December, regardless of the tackiness evinced in some of the baubles. Then they garnished the boughs with streams of tinsel, red, blue, silver and gold. By the time they were finished, even though it bore no lights, the whole glowed as if by some internal illumination. It was indeed magical.

But the elves grew up, moved away from home and somehow drifted from Christmas. It just happened that way and for a time there it looked like the magic might be lost.

That is until 1 fateful December, when flush with money earned from picking fruit and detailing cars the 2 elves stumbled into a department store. ‘Give us your biggest tree,’ they grandly requested of a comely shop assistant, who in truth was perhaps not as comely as the elves would tell it as they may have been slightly blinded by Christmas cheer.

Or beer.

And lo, the perhaps comely, perhaps not, shop assistant produced a largish tree. ‘Not big enough,’ proclaimed our 2 elvish heroes, who we should be clear were a little more slovenly than say, your Orlando Bloom-type elf. ‘Well,’ said the assistant, ‘There is this display model out the back but it is quite large.’ And with that she led them into a storage area where a tree did grow and they saw that it was large and so they happily announced that they’d take it.

‘Would you like some snow flocking painted on for an extra $50?’ asked the assistant, perhaps sensing a commission that would allow her to feed turkey to young Tiny Tim that Christmas. ‘Flock yeah,’ replied the elves.

Fast forward 15 years and this tree is still the Christmas shrine of 1 of the elves, who may weigh a bit more and who really now looks less like an elf and more like a slightly crazed long-haul trucker. Which kind of makes sense as the tree has been hauled around Perth, Western Australia and has even been flown up to Carnarvon, somehow escaping an excess baggage charge, possibly due to the amusement and warm hearts of the airline staff – Skywest – Don’t fly Western Australia with anyone else. When not traveling the tree has been climbed by cats and has seen a new elf brought along to help lovingly unwrap ornaments to hang on it’s boughs each year. It has lights now and a train to chug around it’s base but even without them the tree glows, much like the hat-rack long ago.

Which is largely because of the ornaments. Each year more are added, sometimes by the elves and sometimes by family and friends. As they are hung on hooks and tasseled loops in years to follow the friends and family who provided them are remembered. Some of the ornaments are from far-flung places – A tiny gold foil replica of the Apollo 11 lander from NASA and a small wooden Mountie from Vancouver. Most though are locally sourced and some are locally made – 1 such decoration in particular is the focus of this post:

The elvish/trucker owner of this tree loves sport and in particular 3 teams. Of those 3, 1, the Fremantle Dockers, plays a winter sport in the southern hemisphere and the other, the Boston Red Sox, contrastingly plays a summer sport in the northern hemisphere – Both are idle now. Across Christmas only 1 of those teams, Liverpool FC, is in action. It is somehow fitting then that Liverpool FC are represented on the tree, by way of a small teddy bear, handmade with a 70’s era Reds shirt and a tiny football at his feet.

While the bear sits snug in his lofty perch, Liverpool will play a packed Christmas/New Year campaign. They currently lie in 7th in the Premier League, with just 23 points to show for their 14 outings so far. Their festive run commences with an Anfield stoush with newly promoted QPR tomorrow, the 10th. Sunday the week after, the 18th, the Reds travel to Aston Villa before next appearing at the DW Stadium to face Wigan just 3 days later on the 21st. They then get to take Christmas Day with their families before hosting Blackburn at Anfield for a Boxing Day clash. A scant 4 days later fellow northerners Newcastle visit Anfield for Liverpool’s last outing of what has been a year of hope barely fulfilled.

On the 3rd day of 2012 the Reds will be at title aspirants Man City. That will be for league points but 8 days late on the 11th they will repeat the fixture as leg 1 of the League Cup semi-finals. In between they will host either Oldham or Southend in the FA Cup. The holiday season marathon finally settles down after the 14th when Liverpool host Stoke City – Thereafter the program resumes a more leisurely stroll to the May curtain on the season.

If you’ve been keeping count that’s 9 games in a little over a month, a period that will define Liverpool’s season. The bear will have it easier – Sometime around the New Year he will be carefully packed away with all of the other ornaments and the tree. He’ll wait out the winter and most of the year in a box in a cupboard, only to resurface next December. Then, Longworth72, will lovingly unpack him and remember that the bear was made for him by a wife that might not like all of the sport that he watches but still finds time to recognize that it is a great part of his life. Which is probably why he’d give up all of those games mentioned above and more besides for her love.

Enjoy the festive season folks and stay safe.

Ein Baum Von Dir Mich Hoch Erfreut!

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