Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Beautiful Thing to the Rescue

This ornament from my youth is decorated with my childhood nickname.

Honestly, I was not feeling in the holiday spirit. The job search has been tough since my work ended at the ad agency after Labor Day. Anyone need an advertising copywriter?! There have been some starts and stops, but in this economy the media business in New York is sort of a disaster and the job search has not been easy or pleasant. But it was time to get our Christmas tree.

We have been getting our Christmas tree for twenty-one years from Billy Romp who arrives every year at Thanksgiving-time from Vermont to sell trees at the the corner of Eighth Avenue and Jane Street. When TD and I first moved in together we lived on the top floor of this building at 35 Jane:

There are window seats in the windows, and one year we looked down and saw a red pick-up truck below and this:

Piles of fresh Christmas trees lining Eighth Avenue like a city forest. That was in 1988, and we've been going to Billy Romp ever since, even after we moved off of Jane Street. On Friday we walked over. It was freezing cold out. We found Billy there, and helping him out was Evan. Evan was the boy who lived upstairs with his parents when we lived at 76 Jane. We attended the celebratory baby shower and remember the day he was born. When the house was sold on Jane Street, Evan and his mother moved to the upper west side. It was great to see him again. He said he's now eighteen, and applying to colleges. Gulp.

We picked out a nice tree and caught up with Billy Romp. Here he is now:

A couple of years ago he published a children's book called Christmas on Jane Street, and I have to say Billy Romp is great at getting the publicity! Just yesterday there was a big article about him and his ex-wife in The New York Times.
Billy trimmed the bottom of our tree and placed it on a cart. We said good-bye until next year and Evan carted the tree home with me to 15th Street.

We carried it up two flights and Evan put the tree in the tree stand. It took a couple attempts to get the tree straight. I really enjoyed catching up with Evan.

When TD got home we put lights on the tree. (We're kind of obsessed with the lights. TD likes them pushed into the tree and I pull them out so you can see them better.)

We got out the boxes of ornaments. We have two large boxes that are kept under the bed. I love our ornaments – there are antiques and things we've made and paper ornaments TD cut out. I stick everything on the tree including small Christmas cards and pine cones and decorations off of presents.

A work in progress.

When it was done I felt better. This tree is really pretty. With a tall slender shape, it fits into our space and reaches up to the ceiling. The colorful lights and all of the ornaments which hold sentimental value make me happy. At night the tree delights my eye. Now I have to chill out. These next three weeks in the business world will be quiet so there probably will not be much happening in the job market. I want to enjoy the holidays and appreciate the moment and be grateful for a life of beautiful things.


The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

I think the tree is charming even if I like TD prefer the lights tucked in.
As for the rest well, it is my fondest wish that 2010 brings you nothing but your heart's desire. I understand how searching for a job can takes it out of you so take heart and know I'm rooting for you.
All my very best,

design citation said...

Hey Bart, what a gorgeous tree, and a wonderful reminder about gratitude. I wish you the best!

Madonna B said...

Hi Tab,
May your richly decorated tree bring joy and contentment to your world!

lady jicky said...

I am new to your blog . I just got a dark green christmas ball with "Grandma and Grandpa" written on it in gold from my little grandson yesterday- its on my tree which is plastic.I saw yours and went "snap"! I do love your "real" tree but , here in Australia its so hard to keep them going in our heat this time of the year. You have to keep filling the bucket up with water and if you have dogs.... LOL or little grandchildren!!!! Water everywhere!
I have had a shocking 2009 and I hope we both have a much better 2010!!!

B.R. said...

Dear Bart,

Way cool story. I grew up with precious ornaments, carefully packed away each year in paper and boxes, some with my name or my sisters' names on them, which now bring a pang of nostalgia when I see them on my sisters' trees. They were probably not expensive when my parents bought them in the forties, but it is the preservation and care over the years that gave them immense value. Breaking one was a minor disaster, like breaking a piece of china from the Sunday set.

I am happier than I can express to be part of your Christmas tradition. The tree is gorgeous. Please, whatever you do, be careful of that ornament!

Your Friend and Christmas Tree Man,

Billy Romp