Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

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Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Carly Ducey

Carly Ducey

Carly Ducey

The illuminated tree after the Christmas Parade.

Shira Buchsbaum, Editor-in-Chief

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Last Saturday, my father took a detour driving us home from our annual foray into the City to see our favorite radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion” hosted by Garrison Keillor. It was a wonderful evening: we usually attend the final show, the Christmas show, before the cast returns home to Minnesota, but this post-Thanksgiving broadcast was particularly zen. Of the seven live broadcasts I’ve seen in my life, it was my favorite.

The detour took us through the center of downtown Madison, past the illuminated Christmas tree in the plaza.

“Gotta appreciate it while it’s there,” someone commented.

That 41-foot blue spruce, as the Madison Eagle so affectionately described it, adorned and later engulfed my front lawn for the whole 14 years we have lived in Madison. Planted in the 1980s at age 10 by the previous owners, anyone who ever received directions to my house knew to keep an eye out for the “brick house with the big pine tree in front.”

Countless shoes, soccer balls, frisbees, kites, and cats have gotten stuck in that tree. One Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, my Rabbi’s son chucked his sneaker into it’s highest branches. I remember sitting on my couch in the living room, watching with glee as his father attempted to dislodge the shoe from the tree. A celebratory moment indeed when it finally fell after some 30 minutes.

The morning the Madison Christmas Tree Committee arrived with their crew to cut down this tree, my family was expecting them the following day. I received a text during my Spanish class and proceeded to beg Srta. Occhiogrosso to go home so I could properly witness the uprooting of my childhood. She unfortunately denied my request and I teared up, only to be comforted my my father’s loving text, “It’s going to a new home. Also, stop using your phone in school.”

Being Jewish in Madison is not the easiest thing in the world. My pride has drawn me into many an argument but more importantly, hundreds of quiet conversations in the middle of class answering honest questions. Those memories are some of my favorites – there is nothing better than sharing something you love with someone new.

The irony in donating this year’s Christmas tree as a Jewish family is endless, as my friends have gleefully noted time and time again. Yet, it is an apropos gift: not only is it the 40th anniversary of the Christmas Tree Committee and the 125th anniversary of the town, but it is my last year in Madison – in 365 days, I will ideally be panicking about my first round of term finals in a far-off college. Transitions, transitions, transitions. They’re not all bad.

Pulling into my driveway every day leaves me slightly uneasy: there is a 15-foot wide circle of dirt in the middle of our lawn, crowned by a dinky stump. Whizzing past the clock on my way to ballet or synagogue fills me with a sense of loss: in a month or so, I’ll never see that tree again.

But for now, taking detours seems to be an efficient way to grasp onto my childhood. Happy Holidays, Madison.