The Christmas Tree brings back memories
Christmas has always been my absolute favorite time of the year. We have so many long-time traditions that we cherish in our family, especially the Christmas tree.
We always had a fresh Christmas tree when I was growing up. Some years we would go to a tree farm with Dad and cut down the perfect tree, other years we would go to Houston’s or one of the local service club sales and get our tree. I smile thinking about how Dad would often struggle with the tree stand, trying to get it just right for Mom before finally placing it in front of the living room window. We would then wrap the tree in lights (always leaving them turned off until the end), decorate it with many homemade ornaments that we made with Mom over the years, and then finish the tree off with the old silver tinsel. The last step would be to turn off all the lights in the house and then light up the tree for the first time. Great memories!
When Rosie and I started our family, we continued with these traditions. Each year we would take the kids out and find the perfect fresh tree to cut down and bring home. They used to enjoy arguing over whose turn it was to cut the tree down, an argument they still have as adults when they come back. For years, we would visit El Heusinkveld’s Tree Farm just east of Mantorville. The kids loved going there – Rosie and I did too! El would always greet us in the garage with fresh baked Christmas cookies and cider and the kids would love running around all the trees looking for the perfect one. If we were lucky, we would also often seen a bald eagle or two soaring around above us from the tall pines along the Zumbro River. We would follow the same steps as had been done for years when I was a kid – wrap the tree with lights, decorate with homemade ornaments and tinsel, then light it up. It’s funny how smells bring you back to a day or time – I often think of Heusinkveld’s when I smell cider. The smell of the ornaments when we open up the boxes and containers in brings me back too. Lastly, that fresh pine smell in the house reminds me of these great memories of our kids, as well as memories of my childhood with Mom and Dad.
This is the first year Rosie and I have put up and decorated a tree without our kids here. Our oldest son Eddie and his wife and kids are in Colorado, middle son Alex is in Los Angeles, and youngest son Cooper and his wife Gaby are in Monterey, Calif. – all doing well finding their way and building their careers. Our tree is full of memories of our three sons – many homemade ornaments they made throughout the years growing up, some with pictures, some with little messages, all of them priceless to us. Also ornaments that our parents gave to us as kids, bringing back fond memories of our parents who have passed. Rosie and I are now adding ornaments for and from our three grandkids too, moving on to the next chapter in our lives.
For us, the tree is an annual reminder of all we have to be grateful for, and how truly blessed we have been over the years. This week when you are celebrating around your Christmas tree, be sure to remember and thank those who make it possible for you to freely celebrate Christmas, to make these amazing memories with our families, and who keep our communities safe – men and women who work day and night to protect our families, our communities, and our country. Our military both here and abroad and our public safety partners – law enforcement, fire, and medical. These great men and women often sacrifice so much during the holidays in order to help keep us safe and secure. They add “Public Service” to their list of family traditions. For that we are all grateful.
Make remembering and thanking our public safety heroes both here and abroad, a family tradition - great life lessons your kids will always remember and pass down to the next generation. Together we can help continue to make Dodge County a great place to live and raise our families.
On behalf of my wife Rosie, and the great men and women serving you at the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and safe and Happy New Year.
Scott Rose is serving in his second term as Dodge County Sheriff. He grew up in Kasson.