Now, I know I'm just a kid from Beaumont, Texas and that I have no Cajun blood whatsoever, but I want to claim my stake in a relatively new tradition here in Louisiana. The fine, about a decade old tradition is that of the Mardi Gras Tree! The originator should become a revered public figure. Let's hear it for the person who came up with the idea that gives us about another month of not having to take down trees.

Now, I used to have a lot of snobby ideas about Christmas and just how the holiday should be observed by family and friends, but I learned that all those rules were just so much clutter. You can read that story Here.

The point is that, after all these years of living in Louisiana is a motto that was around back during the great depression and that is: "Use it up; wear it out:make it do; do without" I always thought that was pretty smart thinking and I have just come to notice how that applies to decorating.

Sure you can go out and buy tons of red, green and blue Christmas lights, but those colors are not required to meet the definition of "Christmas lights." Any festive color will do, now won't it? What color indeed! Mardi Gras colors of course. It's too brilliant for words. Why, by getting Mardi Gras lights for Christmas, you will be able to redecorate simply by switching the wreath on the door and the decorations on the tree, but that's the fun part of decorating. There is no fun side to undecorating a Christmas tree.

Here's to leaving a tree up way past January 1st and the beauty of Mardi Gras for providing such a moratorium on the drudge of undecorating the house.What we need to really work on now is the concept of the Valentine tree. No. Scratch that. I've gone to far with it. Still, you get the idea.

On of my funniest memories about Christmas is one I've told a few times on the air. Just in case you've never heard it, it goes quite a lot like this:

It was a cold and chilly morning. It was cold inside and out since the little woman and I were having our holiday fight. Now, don't start thinking that we argued about the same thing every year. No sir! Say what you will about couples arguing, we were always original.

I don't remember what we were fighting about that day. I couldn't even really tell you what year it was since we always fought during the holidays. Now, when I used the term "holidays", I'm not generically referring to Christmas time. I mean, The Holidays! All of them! Christmas, new Years, her birthday, my birthday, Washington's birthday! Why, we even fought on Armistice Day and Kwanza. I started to think that my calendar was trying to warn me. I couldn't help but notice a correlation between a verbal conflagration and days marked in red on the calendar.

So anyway, she won the argument and we headed to her folks house for their family gathering. I was riding shotgun while she drove and I was preparing myself to deal with her family. I decided to try and pretend that I was having a good time which consisted of me with an uncomfortable fake smile and contributing to the conversation with such glib remarks as "Oh, is that right?" or "Wow. That's interesting." Surely no one could see through that.

Well, that's another story. At any rate, it was very early Christmas day. It couldn't have been 7:30 a.m. and, as we turned a corner on to 12th street, we noticed something on the curb that changed the mood in the car completely. There, on the side of the road, right next to the garbage can, was a fully decorated Christmas Tree. I mean they threw it out lock, stock and tree stand. Lights and all, baby! They even threw out that crappy looking tree skirt that everyone gets at Dollar General.

We all began to ad-lib all sorts of scenarios that, surely, lead to the trashing of the tree. We speculated on the topic of the fight at length and I think we narrowed it down to someone not getting what they wanted to someone getting something intended for someone else, if you get my drift here.

The bottom line of the story is this:

I'd like to thank whatever couple lived in that house on Christmas morning. You may have had a lousy time, but the now ex and I had a great time making up stories about how that tree ended up on the curb. The happiness didn't end there. We had a great time telling our friends about it during the following days. The story lives on to this day some 10 or so years later.

I always taught my daughter one thing and I think this story is a perfect example of what I tried to teach her:

Always remember that, no matter how bad things get, it will all be fine if you get a good story out of it.

We certainly got a good story out of it and I'll make you a bet right here and now. Somewhere in this world, there are two people who tell the story of the day the other one threw out the tree on Christmas morning. In my mind, they are still a couple and the story cracks them up. I guess that's just the romantic in me.

Don't ya love leaving the tree up for Mardi Gras? If I see your Mardi Gras tree by the curb on February 28th, I'll know there was trouble in the house. Wouldn't it be funny if it happened and it turned out to be that same couple?

Have a great day!


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