Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18: O Tannenbaum

At one time when I was very young, before my parents divorced, my father was a high school German teacher. For that reason I grew up with well-worn copies of Beatrix Potter's Die Geschichte Des Peterchen Hase (The Tale of Peter Rabbit) and Die Geschichte Von Den Zwei Bosen Mauschen (The Tale of Two Bad Mice). Although I also had an English version of Peter Rabbit, it was years before I knew what was up with those two mice pillaging a doll house. And the only German word I remembered from either was Puppenhaus: dollhouse--I think in part because it sounded vaguely like something I wasn't suppose to say. I did know one other German word from that early childhood time: Tannenbaum, Christmas tree. I think at one point when I was three or four I was even able to sing a line or two of the Christmas carol O Tannenbaum in German.

I've always had a fondness for that carol, perhaps because of those faint early memories. And I hum it to myself now as I admire the Christmas tree my husband and I just decorated. Its branches green truly are delightful, and now, beautifully bedecked with our many ornaments, each of which carries its own set of memories from my childhood on through our married life together.

Little house, small tree.
Boughs laden with memories.
Lights in the darkness.

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