I started my blog in September of 2017. A lot of stuff has happened since then, and I have added a lot of posts. I have recently purchased a domain – jimgblack.blog – through WordPress.com, who has been posting my blogs from the beginning, and so I am editing this post to bring it up to date.
So…the title, Broken Anvil…what does it mean? I hear you asking. When I was younger my daddy used to say I could tear up an anvil, if I could ever get my hands on one. It wasn’t that I was a destructive little brat (depending on whom you ask), just very inquisitive as to how things worked. So, I would tear things apart to get to the insides. I just never could put them back together – hence the reason I’m not a surgeon.
Anyway, I have often thought that Broken Anvil would be a good name for a lot of things, none of which I could ever get around to creating. So I figured, what the heck? Use it as the title for my blog. If you look at my profile, you will see that I started this venture to practice my writing and just have fun with it.
I am starting my first book, and welcome any and all help, advice, tips, tricks and criticisms I can get. I hope you will read and follow my posts, and recommend me to others. My two biggest wishes are that I will become a better writer, and that you will just enjoy what you read. I have a lot of interests, and will write on a variety of things. Some serious. Some humorous. But always from the heart and my warped perspective on things. You can also follow me on Twitter and my writing page on Facebook, which I see needs a lot of serious work, by clicking on the social media icons found on each page. I hope you like what you see. If you do, please leave a like and/or a comment. And feel free to recommend my blog to others who might enjoy it.
Steve was one of the greatest saxophone players of the ’70s. He and his band had played the dives and smoky bars for twelve years before they finally hit the big time’ opening for bigger names before getting there own shows.
There were five members in the group. Bobby played piano and synthesizer. He was the leader of the band, sporting a gold tooth and flashy threads. Bobby was the oldest and had played with a few other groups in the late fifties to early sixties. None of them had any success, though, and Bobby had turned to booze and drugs, before cleaning himself up and getting back to his music.
Jerry played rhythm guitar. Before coming into the group Jerry had only ever played with a small group in college, doing fraternity and sorority parties. Like Bobby, the partying and booze took its toll and Jerry flunked out of college – and the group. With no more frat parties and sorority girls to play for the party scene lost its appeal to Jerry and he started looking for another band to play with.
Bongo, the drummer was a wild man on the set. He could play like nobody’s business and would get the crowds fired up with his improvised drum solos. Away from the stage, though, he was very quiet and kept mostly to himself. He and Jerry wrote most of the group’s new stuff.
Then there was Stacey on bass guitar. Stacey had been Steve’s girl since junior high school. She played violin in the orchestra and he played saxophone in the band. They lived and grew up on the same street and saw each other every day. After graduating from high school they jumped in his car left the small town, searching for fame and fortune on the road. He would play on street corners while she danced and played her violin. She started playing guitar soon after and jumped to the bass when they hooked up with Bobby and Jerry, who had been playing together for a couple years with, yet another failed band.
Things were going great for the group, until that one night. They were just off tour and trying out some new tunes at one of their usual joints; good sized bar, nice dance floor with a regular crowd who always packed the place when the band was in town. He and Bobby were setting up the stage and doing mic checks, while Bongo set up his rig. Steve went back to the dressing room to get Jerry and Stacey to come out and check their guitars with the sound board and caught the two in each others arms. Steve told them the sound board was ready for their instrument checks, turned and walked back out the door. When it was time for the first set Steve acted as if everything was normal and the group began to play.
The last song of the first set was one of the group’s fan favorites, called, “Let’s Heat Up This Chilly Night”. It started with Steve, low – slow and sexy – on the sax – (he was the “chilly”), accompanied by Stacey on bass, while Bongo lightly brushed the medium and floor toms with some hi-hats thrown in. After about eight or nine minutes of “chilly” Bongo switched to sticks and added some more drums while Stacey’s volume rose and Bobby kicked in with the piano. Then it was Jerry’s turn on the rhythm guitar, starting out low and increasing in volume and speed. This was the “heat” and it went on for another ten minutes or so. During this time Steve had nothing to do, so it was easy for him to walk back to the dressing room, pack his sax, grab his gig and duffel bags and walk out the back door, unnoticed, into the cold New Jersey night. The rest of the band didn’t notice he was gone until the end of the song. So…where did Steve go and what happened to him?
Ten years after leaving the group, and Stacey, behind Steve was spotted working at a warehouse in Chicago by a former fan. The fan called a music magazine and they sent a reporter to get his story. Steve didn’t want to talk at first, but finally gave an interview. He said when he left the bar that night he walked to the nearest bus station and bought a ticket to California, hoping to hook up with some musician friends he knew and play with them, but they were touring and didn’t need a saxophonist. He managed to get some studio work for a while and played clubs around Burbank and Oceanside before getting back on the bus and going to other towns. He said he spent about six months in Mexico, playing with a Mariachi band, but never could pick up the language and always felt the locals were making fun of him. He said he stayed too drunk most of the time to care anyway. After coming back to the states he headed for a large musician roundup he heard about in Chicago. Unable to garner any interest in his music he took a job at the warehouse and had been there ever since. He said he still plays local joints, but has no more interest in playing with a band anymore.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. I had a little time, so I thought I’d throw something out off the seat of my pants. Let me know what you think.
Last week the trophy wife and I had the great opportunity to spend a few nights with my parents and some extended family members at Piney Knob Lodge in Rutherfordton NC. If you’ve read some of my blogs (and I hope you have) you know three of the things I love are water, fishing and the mountains. Piney Knob had those and more. I decided I was going to go down to the fishing pond Friday and see if I could get lucky.
I should have known it wasn’t going to go well. I keep a box in my Expedition and always carry a couple short rods with reels and a mixed box of tackle for various types of fish. Well, y’all, as my bad luck would have it, when I checked the box on Thursday, I had one rod and reel and nothing else. Not a good sign. After a quick trip to the local bait and tackle shop I had what I needed for some time on the water.
Keep reading. It gets…better?
Okay, so last Friday’s fishing adventure didn’t go as I had planned. I saw a few while fishing on the bank, but couldn’t get anything to bite. I had the same luck fishing from the boat. One thing that did happen was when I was getting out of the boat the first time. I had bought some dough bait to see if I could catch some of the catfish and carp that was supposed to be in the pond, and had left it in the Expedition, so I was going to go and get it then get back into the boat.
I had beached the boat, and stepped my right foot into the water to climb on out and pull the boat up on the bank. The bottom seemed solid enough so I put my weight on my right side and proceeded to lift my left leg over the side of the boat. Just as I lifted my leg my right foot slipped and I sank mid-calf into the muddy bottom.
This is when it gets fun! Keep reading…
As my right leg was sinking my left leg, which was still in the boat, began to drift farther to the left, causing me to start a split maneuver that a fat man shouldn’t do. Fortunately, I had the fore-site to see how this was going to go, and threw my cellphone onto the bank before attempting to get out of the boat. Finding myself in a precarious pose, and not wanting to stretch out any further and damage anything below the waist, I let go of the boat and just fell back into the pond up to my beard. I lost my flip flops (and anyone who knows me knows my flops are my main year round footwear), however, I did find one in the mud with my foot and the other one was floating near the boat, so I got them both back. Whew!
After getting my feet back on solid ground I pulled the boat out of the pond and walked back up the mountain – it was more of a steep hill, but, by this point, it seemed like a mountain – to get my dough bait. One of the things my daddy always said about me was, “If there’s water around he’ll find a way to get wet.” Well, folks, daddy was right! They all laughed when I came back up the hill soaking wet. I got the bait, went back down and got back in the boat.
I didn’t catch anything, but the time spent on the water was well worth proving daddy right. And whose to say it was an accident? Remember…I did throw my phone on the bank before I let go of the boat.
Why, you ask? How do you know it’s safe? It looks abandoned. Does it even work? Look at the CAUTION tape hanging down.
Think about this…
How many times do you think that elevator is used every day? Every week? Every month? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands? That’s a lot of times those buttons have been pushed.
What if you get inside, the doors close, you push the button and nothing happens? Then you can’t get the doors open. You’ll be stuck in there and who will know where you are?
When was the last time it was inspected? How often do the gears and pulleys and cables get checked to make sure they are in proper operating condition?
Suppose I go first and this is the instant the cables give way to the weight of the car, and it plummets to the basement, killing me. Then you could take the stairs and get away safe.
Or, just maybe, it delivers me safe to my floor and comes back up for you. What if the second trip is the one that crashes to the basement, killing you?
Kind of like elevator Russian roulette, isn’t it. Maybe it’s the one trip that will be the last. Maybe it’s the other one. Or maybe both trips will be successful and the elevator will operate without incident.
It’s been a long time since I last posted anything. I know I’ve got an Author Spotlight to get finished and shared, but I thought I’d go a different way with this post. If you’ve followed and/or read my blog for a while, you know it’s just a lot of rambling, so, here’s some more rambling.
I work nights – 7am to 7pm and my meal choices after a certain time are limited to 24 hour chain restaurants and convenience store cuisine. This all gets old real quick, so I, on occasion, bring my own food. It started out being frozen dinners, which, quite frankly, leave little to be desired to a guy who’s six foot three and three hundred pounds. After some thought I decided I could create my own meals, which would not only be edible and filling, but also economical. By shopping at dollar stores and hitting sales on other store brands, I can create four and five meals for just a few dollars each.
It all comes down to creativity and a lot of experimentation, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or take a lot of time in the kitchen. Stores have a lot of prepackaged, non-frozen foods that make it easy to put something together. Now, I said non-frozen, but don’t count them out. Dollar stores have some nice choices of frozen entrees that can easily be added to for a hearty meal.
For the meal pictured above I heated the brats in the microwave and placed them in the buns. For the slaw I took some prepackaged slaw mix, enough for the two brats, and mixed it with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard with horseradish to top them off. The shells and cheese are a store brand microwaveable bowl; just add water and then mix in the cheese. It’s just that easy.
For the fish tacos I heated up the filets in the microwave (no, not the one at the office!), spread some homemade tarter sauce on the tortillas and added the shredded fish filets. To top them off I mixed a teaspoon of cocktail sauce with a half teaspoon of hot sauce, then lightly coated some of the slaw mix with it. Again, easy and didn’t take a long time.
It has been fun, strategically shopping for ingredients and experimenting with different combinations (although, not all of them have come out as I thought they would). I’ve been doing this for over a year now and, although I don’t have plans to turn this into a food blog, this may not be the last post of this kind you’ll see from me. I have an idea for leftover tortillas and frozen breakfast entrees for this weekend’s rotation. Stay tuned, and stay hungry, my readers.
When I started my own writing journey, I wanted to connect with other writers and bloggers. This led me to Twitter and the #writingcommunity. One of the first authors with whom I connected is the very talented multi-genre Canadian indie author, Barbara Avon, who over the past six years has written and self-published twenty-one books. I have read several of her books and wanted to introduce her to an audience that may not have, as yet, had the opportunity to know her or her writing, so I posed several questions and she graciously answered.
Barb was born in a quaint little town in Switzerland and now makes her home in Ottawa, Canada. She says that she’s always felt like an outsider, as her name literally translates to Mysterious Stranger.
“I think it suits me! You can unravel the
mystery by ‘reading me’ in my stories.”
She attended Brock University in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada, majoring in English Literature and, while she says she is happy for that experience, it has not been an influence on her writing.
Barb stated that the words have always been in her and that telling stories comes naturally. She says she started out writing “poetry, riddled with teenage angst”, and when she was in high school one of her English teachers gave her an A+ on a short fiction story. That was when she knew that one day she would write a novel. She finished her first novel in 2002, but didn’t publish it until 2015. She says that telling stories comes naturally to her, and that she feels writing is more of a calling.
“As my characters come to life, they become real to me.
They are a part of me. The dream was always to share
And self-publishing makes that possible. When I’m gone,
I’ll live on in my stories. They are my legacy.”
And what a legacy she has started. To date she has self-published twenty-one books in the genres of Romance (with suspense elements), Horror, Fantasy (time travel), Thrillers, Paranormal Romance and has also written three children’s books that allow the child to draw the illustrations. She says she still writes Poetry, although she’s drawn to dark stories. “There’s something hauntingly beautiful about them.” She self-publishes all of her books in e-book and paperback format, and will delve into the audiobook format sometime this year. All of her books are available online at Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other digital stores.
When asked if she has a favorite character that she’s written, she stated that’s the impossible question, saying that she feels as if she’s cheating on her other characters if she were to pick a favorite, adding that they are all a part of her. Her protagonists are always male and she loves them as if they were real-life love interests.
I also asked her which of her books was the hardest to write, in which she answered “none of them”, as she doesn’t find writing difficult for her. Again, going back to being a natural storyteller.
And her storytelling/writing has paid off for her over the past six years, having won a local award in Ottawa in 2018 for “Favorite Female Author” and SpillWords “Author of the Month”. Her latest novel, the psychological horror, “Sacrilege” has been nominated for “New Book of the Year”. “The greatest award, however, is the feedback I receive from my readers.”
“I’d like my readers to know how special they are to me.
Without them, none of this matters. I will always write,
But as I mentioned earlier, the joy comes from sharing
my stories. When I receive messages from readers telling
me that a book has touched them, and stayed with them –
that is how I define success.”
For more information on Barb and her books, and to follow her progress, she can be found on Twitter (@barb_avon), where she is an active member of the Writing Community, her Amazon author page or her website: Barbara Avon – Author.
Bonus Book Review of Sacrilege by Barbara Avon
As I stated at the beginning I have read several of her books and would be remiss if I didn’t add a bonus review of her latest psychological horror novel, Sacrilege. To start off I can tell you that the title definitely fits the book, and it will keep you reading to see what happens next. Ex-priest, Cris Corelli has turned his back on his faith and disappeared into the night, destined for nowhere. He finds himself at a boarding house at two in the morning, wanting a room. The house is managed by Jules, who possesses a seemingly tough-as-nails disposition and shows that she is not in the mood for foolishness at two a.m. Both of them are harboring deep secrets, which come to light as the story unfolds and brings the two together in a love-hate relationship. The boarding house holds a key that is realized in the end, when things come burning down around them. I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of dark and twisted psychological horror. Barb even has a disclaimer that the book contains dark and sensitive themes throughout.
So…I have started a new weight loss journey. I won’t go into it here, because that’s not what this blog is about. I’ll discuss it more at another time.
This blog is titled “Get Steppin’”. Sounds like a line out of a movie, doesn’t it? One of the things this new program encourages and allows is to set a step goal and reach it each day. We’ve all heard that the optimum goal is ten thousand steps a day. Yes, I typed that correctly…TEN THOUSAND STEPS A DAY! That sounds like a lot of steps and can be daunting to anyone just starting out. But, there is good news. You don’t have to start out walking ten thousand steps a day. The key is to set goals, attainable goals, and work your way up to it. You may start out by setting your goal at one thousand or two thousand. Whatever you feel you can do per day. This program started me out at two thousand steps, and adds three hundred at a time for every day I reach my goal. Some days I reach my goal and others I far exceed my goal. I’ll get into that in a minute, but do you want to hear some more good news? EVERY STEP COUNTS!! Keep reading (please?).
As I said above, some days I reach my step goal, while other days I far exceed it. These coincide with my work and off days. It’s very easy for me to exceed my daily step goals on the nights I work, because my job requires me to walk and check buildings. Before I know it, I’ve already reached more than half of my goal midway through my shift. But what about the nights you’re off? I hear you ask. Remember what I said above (I’ll give you a moment to go back and look), EVERY STEP COUNTS!! You don’t have to do all of your steps at once. Every step you take doing your regular daily routine counts towards your goal, whether it’s going from the bedroom to the bathroom, the bedroom to the living room, the living room to the kitchen, going outside to get the paper or the mail. You get the idea. And the best part is, you are adding up your steps and you don’t even have to think about it. At some point during the day you want to check your step count, and may even have to add some steps all at once to reach your goal, but you’ll see that it won’t be as many as you might think.
I use the Health app on my iPhone to track my steps. If you have an app on your phone, or some other device you can use to track your activities, that’s good. You might even want to buy some kind of pedometer to track your steps. I’ve been tracking my steps daily and have been pleasantly surprised at my progress. One of the things it makes me want to do is pass the next hundred step mark (so, if I’m at 2,340 steps, I shoot for 2,400 steps, etc).
On November 9-15, my college alma mater, Presbyterian College held its inaugural ScotTrot Virtual 5K to help raise money for student athletes. I was more than happy to register for this event as PC Athletics holds a special place in my heart. On Friday, November 13, after being awake for fifteen hours, working twelve of those and logging close to four thousand steps since midnight that morning, I went home, changed clothes and walked the 5K, bringing my step count for the day to well over ten thousand! This is not typical, but I proved to myself I could do it. I have another 5K in mind for this weekend. I’ll never win any awards or trophies for my 5K times, but I was pleased with the results. When I was younger and hiking every month I was doing about a twelve to fourteen minute mile. Now, thirty-five to forty years later, about one hundred fifty pounds heavier with bad knees, hypertension and asthma, I still averaged about twenty-one minutes and seventeen seconds a mile. I’ll take it.
Nineteen years ago we adopted a stray kitten (one of many over the years), a little ball of gray fur that fit well into the palm of my hand. We instantly fell in love with the little kitten and the kids were trying to come up with a name for him. One wanted to call him Charlie and the other wanted to call him Roger, so he was, forever to us – and the vet’s office – Charlie Roger Black.
He was the typical kitten; playful, mischievous, adventurous, a good hunter and affectionate. When we had the screen porch built onto the back of the house, we had a little space at the top of the door that wasn’t closed in yet. Charlie Roger was the first one of the cats to climb all the way up to the top of the screen and jump off the top of the door, landing with a thud on the floor below. And he did it often (until we had the space closed up). I think he lost most of his teeth, and three or four lives, jumping off that door.
We had several more cats and kittens – all strayed or rescued – when Charlie first came around, and they all along quite well, but it was easy to see who had the hearts of the kids.
That’s Charlie on the far left with brothers, Wicket and Yellow Kitty.
As the years went by Charlie was showing signs of age. His eyesight was all but gone and his hearing was, as well. I took to calling him Charlie Roomba (after the robot vacuum cleaner), because he would walk into something, back up and go another way, until he ran into something else. Then he would repeat the pattern until he got where he was going. In spite of this he still knew where his food and water were, and how to get to his favorite sleeping places.
Two nights ago I sat and held Charlie for, what I was sure, was the last time. I expected to say goodbye while I had him in my arms, but he was stronger-willed than we thought and hung in there a little longer. As I type this, we are in the room as he takes his last breaths and crosses over that bridge. We are confident that we did all we could over the years to make sure he was safe, taken care of and loved.
Thank you, Charlie Roger ‘Roomba’ Black, for the laughs, the love and the blessings you brought to our home and to our lives. Rest In Peace.
Wow! What a day I had Thursday, the 16th. To start off, I had a message on my Facebook writing page from a woman who started the Laurens County Writers Guild in our county back in 2016. Up until Thursday morning I wasn’t even aware that we had a guild in Laurens county. Anyway, she asked if I would come to their meeting sometime and speak about my blog and my writing journey. I was very humbled at the invitation, and will try and get to their meeting soon. Also, I thought it was a great way to start the day that I, along with two other members of the Newberry chapter of the South Carolina Writers Association were to be on the local AM radio station in Newberry, to talk about our work and the Association.
I started my day early, getting up and showering for the radio interview. After a quick breakfast I drove the thirty minutes over to Newberry and WKDK Radio AM 1240. WKDK is an institution in Newberry and has been in the same building since it first went on the air in 1946. For decades it has been the voice of the (Newberry College) Wolves and the (Newberry High School) Bulldogs. It is your typical, small town, brick exterior radio station, decorated inside with album covers, autographs and posters of shows through the years. Our interview ran live for thirty minutes with a couple breaks and it was a lot of fun. You can find them online at wkdk.com, or download their app from the App Store.
After the interview I had to drive all the way to the middle of Laurens County to the tax office to pay property taxes. Now…I could have taken the quick and easy route, jumping over to the interstate, heading north to Laurens. However, those of you that know me, know that, given a nice warm day and an opportunity, I’m going to take the back highways and make a journey of it. And I did! Knowing my way around this area like I do, I got on the nearest highway, Highway 121 in Newberry, and headed toward Highway 34 which would take me past farms and fields, through the small town of Silverstreet, and over to Highway 39, which would take me over to Laurens.
Silverstreet is a small, unincorporated town in Newberry County. According to Wikipedia, it is three and a half square miles with a population of two hundred-sixteen people, as of the 2000 census. Driving through I saw a small park that looked as if it had not been used for a while and Smitty’s Country Store that seemed to be pretty popular. I drove across Little River, however, the trees are grown over so thick on either side of the bridge, I wasn’t able to stop and take a good picture. Oh, well, on with the trip.
From Highway 34, I got onto Highway 39 in Chappells, on the southern tip of Newberry County. I had been driving through some pretty parts of the county, noticing the old wood and cement block buildings, long since abandoned and slowly being taken back by nature, but, at the intersection where the two highways meet, there was a new chain discount store. I won’t mention the name, and I’m sure the locals are glad to have it there, but it just took away from the old country charm though which I had been driving and enjoying so much.
Highway 39 took me into Cross Hill in Laurens County. In a past life I worked all of the county and Cross Hill was one of my favorite towns to work. It is a small, old town with great little restaurants and some nice places on the lake. I could have taken Highway 39 all the way to Highway 221 and gone into Laurens, but again, knowing the area like I do, I had to make a couple side trips. From Cross Hill over to Waterloo and down Old Laurens Road to Harris Landing on Lake Greenwood for lunch. I had been by Harris Landing Restaurant and Tiki Bar many times, but had never stopped to eat. I have some good friends who are regulars and I have heard that the food is excellent. What better time to try it out for myself?
The restaurant itself is a brick building which sits lakeside, just off the Old Laurens Road. The inside is decorated with pine siding, plastered with decorated one dollar bills, and a nice bar where patrons can sit and eat lunch. I looked over the menu and it had a lot of great looking choices. I opted for the catfish special. I would have taken a picture, but I was too taken with how delicious it looked and the food didn’t last too long. It wasn’t Keto friendly, so, Dee, if you’re reading this, forgive me lol. I had a great seat with an excellent view of the lake while I ate. For more info on Harris Landing Restaurant, their hours, menu and directions, visit their Facebook page.
I said I made a couple side trips. Well, about a month ago, I bought a little, lightweight telescoping rod and reel at a discount store. I own more rods and reels and fishing stuff than I’ll ever need or use, however, it was not only discount priced, but sell priced on top of that, so, I had to buy it! The thing had been sitting in my backseat, still attached to the cardboard backing, since I bought it (I told you I have more than I’d ever need or use), so I said to myself, “Jim” (I always call myself Jim), “you’re at the lake, the tax office doesn’t close for another five hours, and you’ve got that little rod and reel that NEEDS to be tried out!” So, I drove over to the DNR public fishing pier, unpackaged my new rod and reel, telescoped it out and put a little lure on it. I always keep a couple rods and reels and a tackle box in the Expedition, for just such an emergency. When I say it is a lightweight rod; it has four-pound test line on it and the little lure I put on the end bent the tip of it lol! It’s a neat little setup, though. With just the weight of the lure it cast out about thirty yards and the retrieval was smooth. It’ll be a nice thing to have when I have more time to bream fish, or take my next road trip. Like I said, the purpose for stopping was to try out the new rod and reel, plus it was a nice few stolen moments on the water.
After leaving the lake I made my way into Laurens and the judicial and government building; a place I’m all too familiar with after spending nine years of my past life there.
I paid my taxes and visited a few people who were working, then went for a haircut and back home. It was a great day to be on the road and I am looking forward to my next local road trip.
WKDK – Google Images
Harris Landing Tiki Bar – Jim G Black; used with permission from the owner
Fishing Stuff – Jim G Black
Laurens County Judicial and Services Center – Google Images
My wife wanted a live Christmas tree last year. I wasn’t happy with the idea, because we would spend Christmas Eve at my parents’ house and Christmas morning at our daughter’s. No one would be here to see it.
“I will,” she said.
One day, after waking from my after work nap, she happily announced that she had bought a Christmas tree.
“It’s a small tree and won’t take up much room.”
I went out and found the stand, placed the tree in the stand and brought it in the house. She was right, it wasn’t a big tree, standing only about five feet tall and not very big around. In fact, the dress on the angel tree topper that we use was almost as big around as the tree itself! Not wanting to dig through the box for the old lights, I bought some new lights and put them on the tree for her. Her eyes lit up brighter than the tree lights when she saw her tree. The kids brought down the box of ornaments and another box with some other decorations, and soon had a couple dozen ornaments on the tree and the hearth decorated. It wasn’t much, but it looked like Christmas.
Our son took the tree out after Christmas. He lay it across my makeshift table, where I fill up my bird feeders and cut the limbs off, putting them in our little fire ring. Today, when I went to fill up my feeders, I saw the trunk still laying across my table. I thought of how happy my wife was when she announced she has bought a tree, and how it lit up the living room each night during the season.
I picked up the trunk, and stroked the few needles it had left on it as I carried it over to the fire pit. I thanked that little tree for making my wife so happy at Christmas, and gently placed it across the top of the ring.