In the past, I've shared a few of our Christmas Traditions with you, but last year I started a new tradition, putting up a miniature Christmas tree. This tradition has been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember but it wasn't my tradition it belonged to my parents. For years I saw this tiny tree go up, and I quickly learned that it was not a toy and was not to be touched. It was a special tree.
You see this tree was given to my grandfather. A man I never had the honor to meet. A man my father worshiped. A man taken much too soon according to everyone that knew him.
Hallie Hubert Spivey Sr. was born on September 2nd, 1910 and passed away December 26th, 1973. Ten years before my birth and when my dad was only ten years old.
Yes, this tree belonged to him. It was given to him in the hospital but I didn't know that growing up. I thought it was a tree my grandpa put up each year and that my dad cherished it because he watched his dad put it up. I learned however that it was something different, it was his dad's last Christmas tree. The one he would have seen from his hospital bed. I try to imagine what my dad must have thought about that tree because for as much as he cherished it he must have dreaded thinking about what that tree meant to him. Just a young boy at the time those first Christmases must have been so difficult for him. I never felt that from my dad though.
I remember that my dad loved Christmas and I never felt sadness when I watched that tree go up. I would daydream about my grandpa and what he must have been like. I would think about how if he were still alive I would be his favorite grandchild (hey, I was young, but I still believe this). I would imagine my dad as a young boy, baseball glove on tossing the ball with my grandpa, and it made me smile. All talk about my grandpa made me smile. I loved learning as much as I could about him, and I still do.
Last year my parents moved for the first time in over twenty years and before they moved my dad gave me the tree. I felt honored to be the one carrying on this tradition for our family and the first year I put the tree up in our camper because that's where my parents were staying. This year, however, I am bringing the tree inside. It's time for my children to see the tree go up, and to understand it's importance. Even though I never knew my grandfather I feel like I did and I want to keep his story alive with my own children. I want them to know him and to tell their children about him. I want to one day pass this tree to one of them.
That's what you do when you love someone. You share their story and pass their legacy down to each generation to carry into the future. I love my grandpa even though we've never met. I think he would be so proud of my dad and all he's accomplished and I know he'd be proud of me (remember, I'd be his favorite).