It was December 1998 and I FINALLY graduated with my Bachelors (I was on the several colleges, numerous majors, several at bats, third time is a charm plan. Perhaps you are familiar?) Big Yankee and I loaded up all of my belongings that could be crammed into my red Pontiac Sunbird and I bid a tearful goodbye to my family and friends.
We Grapes of Wrathed it from the plains of Oklahoma to the deserts of California. We arrived a few days before Christmas and I made myself at home in the tiny little studio apartment...not so fondly referred to as the one room shanty. I had a graduation check from my parents, a Texaco card and not a job in site. We decided NOT to get a tree. It just didn't make any sense. We truly didn't have the money for it and we were leaving on the 26th for a road trip to his mom's house eight hours away.
We would make do without this year. We were grown-ups and we had to make the sacrifice.
As I unpacked I came across our ornaments. I'm not really sure how it came about but we always hunted down an ornament on our road trips. We had amassed quite a collection.
One from our first trip together to Las Vegas. We had met 3 months earlier and it was only the 3rd time we had seen each other.
Another from our impromptu 4th of July trip to Branson, Missouri where we watched fireworks over the lake, managed to find a hotel despite having no reservations and made a 2 am run for the border...which i regretted the entire drive home.
Santa Clause holding a pizza...one Big Yankee gave me to honor my love of pizza.
There were many ornaments-each with a story behind it.
I knew then that we couldn't skip a tree. It was too important.
Here I was 1313.76 miles from home, no job, no friends, an engagement ring on my finger and a tiny little hovel of our own. Not only would I be away from my family for Christmas but I had NO idea when I might see them again.
We ended up meeting @ Target during his dinner break on Christmas eve to pick out a real tree. As you can imagine the selection was limited but we found a tree and it was on sale.
I don't know if he saw the tears in my eyes as I drove away with the little tree tied tightly on top of my little red sleigh.
Big Yankee arrived home around 1 am and we put the finishing touches on the tree together.
It was the first of many.