This is a story that was sent to me (in the 90s) when I just started putting together my auto bio. It comes from Patricia Turner, youngest daughter of Aunt Eleanor. I think you'll like it!
If Christmas Trees Could Think
One Christmas Eve, I worked until 9 P.M. at Woolworth's completing my two week stint after school to earn Christmas money. I was the last one out of the store and on Atlantic Avenue, there wasn't a trolley car in sight. As I waited, a taxicab stopped in front of me, and the driver turned out to be none other than Roland Suarez, the area's only, to my knowledge, operatic tenor and a family friend. Except for local radio and TV, fame had eluded him, so he drove a taxi to tide himself over the lean periods. He offered me a ride home, and although I protested that he had money to earn, I did get in.
Upon arriving at "Turner's Ranch", as our small corner property was affectionately known in the neighborhood, we found Daddy in the yard constructing a Christmas tree stand. Pleased to see Roland, he called out, "Raoul, (his given name), I need inspiration! Come and sing, TREES." "I know the melody, Mr. Turner, but I don't know the words," said Roland. "Don't worry," Daddy said, "You sing. I'll give you each line as you sing."
And so it went, "I think that I shall never see",- bang bang bang - "A poem lovely as a tree" - bang bang - "A tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray" ...on to the end of the song and the completion of the tree stand.
As an on looker, I remember the powerful tenor voice ringing through the cold night. The seashore air was so cold, clean and clear. I half expected it to break and fall to earth in millions of tiny crystals.
If Christmas trees could think, I'm sure that one would have been very proud, indeed, to end up at Turner's Ranch, serenaded by a magnificent voice, while being fitted for Christmas shoes by a very special cobbler. As I recall, the tree that year seemed to be especially luminescent.
Retiring the Lottabusha County Chronicles
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