Everywhere I go I find a pal
Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review
It’s not so easy to be an angel in the Weinschenk household. Our tradition is to decorate our Christmas tree with the usual colored glass ornaments and small, twinkly electric lights and place an old, rouge-cheeked fabric and plastic angel on the top of the pine.
This year, however, the cheap plastic cone that fits underneath the angel’s gown went missing.
We, nevertheless, attempted to place the angel at our balsam fir’s pinnacle.
It didn’t go so well.
Missing the plastic cone, the angel teetered at tree-top and fell ungraciously to the hardwood floor, knocking its head against a metal heating vent.
The angel made an unceremonious clunk.
“Oh my,” I said. “That was not good.”
I picked up the angel and, seeing no damage, went to replace the heavenly citizen back on top of the tree.
Again, the angel plummeted to the floor. Again, a clunk.
“I thought angels could fly,” I said. “This angel has some problems.”
My wife, Susan, and I went to work. We found an old plastic Christmas card box top and fashioned it into a replacement cone with a couple of staples. We inserted the DIY cone inside the angel’s yellowed fabric skirt. I then trimmed the tree top such that the angel could balance on three small branches.
I picked up the angel and delicately placed the celestial being on the branches. The creature settled there.
Hooray. It was a Christmas miracle. Well, of sorts.
With a little work and a couple of staples, even a fallen angel can find a home atop our family Christmas tree.
I am a lucky guy. I get more Christmas than anybody.
I was privileged this year to take pictures at six local school Christmas programs and, you know, I could have gone to more.
It’s not that I like Christmas music. It’s more that I enjoy the children singing and playing instruments. Their excitement is infectious, their energy is inspiring.
I look for that child singing and totally caught up in the Christmas spirit. That chips away at my cynicism. I start to believe again.
What’s cool, perhaps, is capturing a little bit of that spark in a photograph that makes the paper.
The four-year-olds are the best. They are dazzled by the attention they are getting. They pour their heart out in performance. Their enthusiasm is boundless. They are goofy, too. They can’t help it.
I am a sucker for construction paper hats atop elementary school singers. I think they are great. They are festive, wonderful. They are simple, yet effective.
I enjoy, too, the early grade students dressed up in fancy gowns (girls) and in suits and ties (boys). The kids try so earnestly to be adults.
Mostly, I enjoy each community coming together to celebrate the accomplishments of its young people. There is love flowing through the room. It builds and rolls, like waves at the ocean.
You can’t take a picture of all of this love. It is invisible. You can take a picture of the children singing, however.
And that’s an honor (not a task) I have each year.