The adults were whispering, and when I entered the room, they were silent. That’s when children (whose parents swear that they are hard of hearing) really start to listen. Being exceptionally nosy and very good at hearing behind a closed door, I decided to investigate. The adults were talking about my Grandma Ruth, the matriarch of the family. What had my sainted grandmother been up to? She has purchased an aluminum Christmas Tree that came with a light circle that made the tree change color. It didn’t even have to be decorated. This was the first time that anyone in my family had ever purchased a fake tree. It just hadn’t ever been done before. My grandmother was not a tree hugger, she just got tired of putting up a tree every year. It came as a shock. Shockingly, that tree lists for good money today on eBay.
When you are very poor and live in a small town, everyone knows. That is why I always got to take the class Christmas tree home when vacation started. One year when all three of us girls were in school, we ended up with three trees. Since we lived in four rooms, we didn’t have enough room for more than one. So we placed two of them in snowbanks in our yard and decorated them with strings of popcorn and cranberries. The birds loved them.
When our son was about two, we bought our first plastic tree which had to be assembled. Jed thought it was a beanstalk like Jack climbed in the fairy tale.
One year we cut our own tree in the back yard. It was a scrub pine that the birds planted. I held the tree, yelled timber and my husband cut it down with a butcher knife.
Eventually we bought a Norfolk pine tree every year and decorated that with origami ornaments that my nephew Logan made for us as a gift.
This year I look out my kitchen window and see two of the most beautiful trees ever. They are prettier than the one in Rockefeller Center or the one at the White House (both of which I have only seen on television). One day I looked out my window and saw two groups of people digging separate holes in the nursing home lawn. I thought to myself that they were going to be in big trouble. Then the next day the same groups hoisted two freshly cut evergreen trees into the holes and secured them. Next they decorated them with sparkly lights. Two lucky residents could look out their windows and see their very own tree! Those trees were representative of love lights! Yes, in small towns people know your business, and in small towns like Houston, they look out for you!
What I would like for Christmas would be the ability to make homemade bread. I always kill the yeast so this is the best I can do. As I type this the temperature is 70º, and weather like this will continue for a few more days. We who live in Minnesota realize how wonderful this is in November. I feel a bit foolish publishing this recipe now, but soon we will have winter again. Then maybe you can try it!
Green Onion Rolls
1 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups chopped green onion
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking oil.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook green onions 2-3 minutes until tender. Stir in pepper and garlic powder. Remove skillet from heat.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out bread dough into a 12 x 8 inch rectangle. Spread dough with onion mixture and sprinkle with cheeses.
4. Roll up jelly roll style starting with the long edge. Pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal slices and place in muffin cups.
5. Preheat oven to 375º. Cover rolls with plastic wrap coated in nonstick cooking spray. Let rolls rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until double in size. Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes 1 dozen rolls. Discard the frozen bread wrapper and let people draw their own conclusions.