The Wedge of the San Rafael

The Wedge of the San Rafael
Someone has to live here, in the middle of desert beauty. Might as well be the Kellys.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Famous Air Tree

In 1990 or 1991, when we were living in Louisiana, my husband lost his job. I was a grad school, and we were broke. I asked the kids still at home whether they would like to spend $20 on a Christmas tree, or use the money for a few more presents. They wanted both, of course.

I got clever. I bought a roll of transparent fishing line, and a box of push pins. We had a blank beige wall in one corner of the family room, so I hung my Christmas ornaments against that background, basically in the shape of a tree, or where a tree would be, if one were actually there. The ornaments were all of different heights, as though they hung on that imaginary tree. I called it the air tree, of course.

It was totally cool. Against that background, the ornaments appeared to be hangng in mid-air. The effect was truly stunning, and cost me about 5 dollars. As an added touch of whimsy, I put the tree stand - filled with water, of course - underneath the air tree.

The neighbors enjoyed the tree as much as we did. In fact, I think it was Denise Grayson who dubbed it "The Famous Air Tree." She even brought my tree some lightweight ornaments.

A few years later, when times were more plush, I suggested to the kids that we could afford a real tree again. Oh, the howls of protest! I continued the air tree for quite a few years. Time eventually takes its toll. I'm not wild about getting on a ladder to arrange my ornaments, so I downsized to a little artificial tree. It's fine, but we all remember the magic of the air tree, and the "can do" spirit that triumphed when it came about because of desperation.


  1. That is such cool and a very clever idea, showing the true spirit of Christmas!

  2. Hello Carla. How lucky I feel! Yesterday I received my copy of the Admiral's Penniless Bride (your name is in much larger print than the title is; does that signify something about your popularity?) and then today I found your blog spot. You may be sure that I will be following your "Natterings" with as much enjoyment as I have had reading your books over the years. Thank you for the many hours of pleasure reading and re-reading your stories. Diane