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Boughs of silver, bulbs of blue make memorable tree

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By Becky Barnes

I remember my aunt having the most beautiful Christmas tree ever.

I was probably 10 or so when my family traveled to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a Christmas vacation.

We walked into my aunt’s house, happy to be out of the car for awhile. And there, just inside the door, was the  biggest and brightest tree I had ever seen. There were blue bulbs and baubles hanging from the boughs.

The boughs, yes the boughs.

Not a Douglas or Fraser Fir, no White or Scotch Pine or even a Balsam Wood could compare with the Christmas beauty that was right before my eyes.

It was straight from the window of J.J. Newberry’s. A gleaming, glittering piece of art sculpted from aluminum.

At the base of the tree, scattered with packages in silver and blue, was a spinning wheel that cast a red, gold or blue glow over the tree. Hers was locked into the blue, which gave the illusion of a full moon illuminating a snow-covered tree.

I stood transfixed. Only in store windows had there ever been a lovelier sight.

It was Christmas morning and the Macy’s Parade rolled into one six-foot tree.

I wanted that tree more than I had wanted red patent-leather shoes for Easter.

It was not to be. By the time the family vacation was over, so was Christmas and with its passing went the yearning for a glittering tree made of tinsel.

We didn’t return to Florida the following Christmas and I never really knew what became of The Tree. I hadn’t even thought about it in years.

Then, last year, as I walked down the aisle of a department store, there it was: A three-foot sparkling blast from the past.

I loaded the box into my cart and headed for the blue ornaments.

Now that the tree stands majestically in my own home, I can feel that same awe from the late 60s Christmas anytime I want.

There is but one problem. My family, who shares my love for “A Christmas Story” and “Christmas Vacation,” doesn’t share the same feelings I do for the 3-foot gleaming embodiment of a commercialized Christmas. For them, I have the standard evergreen decked out in green, red and gold.