Fruitcakes and Umbrella Christmas Trees

20 Dec

Every year right before the holidays Willy starts stressing over fruit cake.  He says there’s really only ONE fruitcake in the whole wide world & because people (he) generally hate fruitcakes, we all just keep sending the doggone thing from person to person during the holidays & getting rid of it the best way we know how. That thing surely has been around the world tens of thousands of times & must be super moldy by now.

His idea is that every now & then we drag that old moldy fruitcake from the back of the freezer when we have unexpected drop-in visitors & nothing in the house to offer them in the way of refreshments.  When they find out we’re offering them fruitcake they decline, claiming they’ve just eaten or have recently been to iHop & sampled about four dozen pancakes of various flavors & simply can’t eat another thing.

While the fruitcake is out of the freezer, we box it up & send it on its way to Aunt Nellie in Paducah…to do with as she sees fit, even though we know in 2023 we’ll be getting it back again in a package loaded with stamps from all over the world, delivered during the holidays by a UPS guy dressed like an elf.

But … I have had a fruit cake or two that I really liked.

My friend use to make her fruit cakes in August or April or sometime that was a long time from being Thanksgiving or Christmas. She’d wrap them up in cheesecloth & stick them in the darkest part of the darkest closet in the house. Once or twice a month she’d put on night vision goggles, take a bottle of rum or bourbon into the recesses of the closet & douse those fruitcakes with a quart or two of the spirits. She’d stagger out of the closet a half hour or so later all smiley & when she brought out those fruitcakes at Thanksgiving & Christmas, they were the BEST fruitcakes this side of an illegal West Virginia mountain still. So some fruitcakes DO have redeeming qualities.

Not so an 8’ artificial Christmas tree with individually removable limbs.

Karen was going to bring a Christmas tree for our club to use on our float for the Amherst Christmas Parade until she realized that “assembly required” meant a bunch of us would have to stand on the side of the street on the parade route in fading light attempting to get all the red-labeled limbs into the red-labeled slots on the trunk of the tree, the green-labeled branches into the green-labeled slots on the trunk & so on. Far too labor intensive & challenging, we decided to go another route. In the end, our float was rained out of the parade but this example got me thinking …

Why hasn’t someone invented an Umbrella Christmas Tree? It should come fully decorated (with non-breakable lights & balls & ornaments, of course) & should work on that mechanism Totes Umbrellas uses. The tree would be pencil thin & all folded up so it looked like an umbrella, no matter how big or tall. Hit that button on the trunk down near the stand & the tree would instantly spring open & to life just like the Totes Umbrella it was mimicking. And there it would be … full in size, ready to stand in front of the picture window & just waiting for gifts underneath. It’s a perfect plan. We could have used one of those Umbrella Trees on our parade float (if we’d had a float).

I haven’t really figured it all out yet … the mechanism, the flawless, unbreakable decorations… but I DO know it is the perfect design. And STORAGE? Well, it goes without saying, an Umbrella Tree would just close up, all nice, neat & tight & stand in the attic or basement closet or in a corner until next year when it would be brought back into the living room, popped open like an umbrella, ready for gifts.

I’m applying for a patent right now & I’m sure Totes will cut me a sweet deal. If not …… there’s always Shark Tank.

I hope all our friends, relatives & even people we aren’t all that crazy about have a wonderful Holiday – Christmas & New Year’s Eve & Day. It’s the time for family & friends (even those who aren’t too cool) & good food, fellowship & cheer. It’s also the time for magic … an opportunity to BELIEVE all over again & to embrace our inner child without fear of ridicule (because we should ALL be doing that embracing thing, really).

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!


2 Responses to “Fruitcakes and Umbrella Christmas Trees”

  1. Will Smith December 21, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    If you DO wake up one morning with the designs of the umbrella tree written on your body or a paper towel, I’d like a hefty cut of the profits because you’ve heard my diatribe about lugging that tree (100 pounds at least and taller than Matt Dillon) 2 floors up into the attic for years now. I can hear the pitter-pater of your little lumberjack feet as you cruise from one sector of the kitchen to the other — on your heels! while you bake up a storm.
    Olive you … the husband in the basement


    • heimdalco December 21, 2013 at 12:48 am #

      You will be the FIRST to know if I can pull off the umbrella tree design … Then we’re gonna “party” at Sandals in some foreign oasis for a long time.


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