Losing a piece of the past

An unfortunate series of events leads to the loss of a cherished item. Who knew the sentimentality ran that deep?

I hear a large bang downstairs and what sounds like broken glass.

Quick glance at the clock.

It’s 2:11 AM.

Somehow it is scarier at 2:11 AM than it would be at say 5:15 AM.

The heart is racing.

I’m frozen.

I knew I should have secured a weapon near the bed. How did that fall off of the to-do list? Isn’t that more important than adding hooks to the garage wall or stocking up on 60W light bulbs?

I hate to-do lists.

I’m still frozen.

Which kid do I save first? Do I proceed in age order? Girl over boy? Furthest away first? Let them fend for themselves?

Still frozen.

And then it hits me. Fuck.

Never mind. Y’all are safe, sleep well.

The Christmas tree has fallen.

This is going to suck.

Not too long ago, I wrote about how much I dread securing the Christmas tree each year. Securing meaning cutting it down, securing it to the roof of the car and ensuring it doesn’t fall during transport.

Now I can add securing the tree within the tree stand to the pain point list.

This year’s tree was top heavy and I should have known this was coming.

“I think the tree is leaning more to the right today.” Jodi Markowski, my wife

It sure was Jodi.

I am so sorry.


I am not a sentimental lad when it comes to “stuff”. Photos, cards and some kids artwork will suffice.

The only exception to that is Christmas ornaments.

We cherish our ornaments.

Each tells a story or represents a moment in time that we cherish to this day.

New ornaments are added regularly with the hope that while the kids create their own memories, the ornaments become the device to prompt those memories.


This kiwi ornament was given to us by a fun and wacky friend without reasoning behind its selection. Perfect and appropriate. We don’t see her much anymore, but she is still in our thoughts during the holidays each year.

This LOVE ornament was given to us by a neighbor when our beloved lab, Casey, passed two years ago.

I hate country music. Don’t hate me. But I love this cowboy because we bought him in Denver over twenty years ago when my wife and I were being schmoozed by her employer for a potential move from New Jersey. It was our first big “couple decision” and we collectively knew it wasn’t for us.

This Oakland Raiders ornament was purchased in San Francisco back in 2000 when we were on a 10 day tour of San Fran and wine country. It still ranks up there as the best trip of our lives. But this ornament is a bigger reminder of the fact that we bought it while I had only one operational eye because earlier that day I got metal in my eye while walking the street of SF, jumped off of the trolley since my eye was tearing buckets and ended up in the emergency room with the doctor asking me if I had been “welding” earlier in the day.

I could go on all day.

A Santa in beach wear is the aspirational one. Our goal to make it south and to warmer weather once life allows it to happen.

A Santa drinking a Coke reminds us of the time when my wife worked to the bone for Coke as a client at work. It nearly killed her. But damn if she didn’t kill it and has the portfolio to prove it.

An ornament of a little boy wearing bloomers is the creepiest ornament we own but if it doesn’t crack us all up each December remembering how much we held in our laughs when we received it.

This one may be the best. This ornament from Boothbay Harbor, Maine represents where my wife and I were when I proposed to her in ’95. Our style, just the two of us. No audience participation or banner wielding planes flying above. A magical time captured in this simple ornament.

I cherished it like you cannot imagine.


After confirmation that it was in fact the tree that toppled, I jumped into action.

I did so as quietly as possible as I had a notion to fix it all before sunrise so no one would know it even happened.

I sopped up the water that covered the hardwood floor.

I took each ornament off of the tree, thankful for each that survived the fall.

Then the moment of truth.

I managed to turn the tree over to reveal its underside and the potential carnage.

Most looked OK.

Better than I anticipated.

A Disney ornament lost a Mickey ear.

A basketball player had its head decapitated.

Neither the end of the world.

My wife’s homemade elephant from the 70’s split in four. Shit. We can glue it back together and maybe that gives the ornament even more of a backstory? This one hurts.

The two rabbits used to sitting on a porch swing (the first ornament I ever gave my wife) need to be glued back to said porch swing. Recoverable.

All of this damage would have been manageable.

But there was one more.

Totally shattered.

Boothbay Harbor is gone.

My stomach hurts. I could cry.

A quick Google search and the ornament isn’t available any longer.

Yes, it’s just an object and we’ll recover.

I originally took a pic of this ornament anticipating a post like this but without the tree falling part.

I’m so thankful that I took it.

Weird, right?


I knew we cherished our ornaments but now I cherish them tenfold.

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