The Last Windrow: Let's end the year with a bit of brightness

This story still rings true and is columnist's Christmas card to his readers.

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

After this year of tension and concern, ending the year with a bit of brightness feels good to me. I wrote the following verse many years ago for my daughter as a gift for Christmas. Over the years, each time I re-read it the story still rings true.

I hope you don't mind me repeating it again this year, and I am sending it to all my readers as my Christmas card to you. Merry Christmas!

The Ugliest Little Christmas Tree

It stood there in the midst of evergreens,

Roots planted in the sandy soil.


Its scattered branches bending low,

Under a mound of new fallen snow.

Furry field mice burrowed near its trunk,
And an occasional cheery chickadee
Would extract a bug from beneath its bark
While on its way to roost, close to dark.

The other majestic spruce and fir
Stood, branches trimmed in perfect pitch.
With not a needle out of place they stood,
Looking down at the little tree in a lowly ditch.

Its needles were of the same green tint,
As the other beautiful trees,
But, its branches were a random lot,
A Christmas tree of beauty, it was not.

The bark that girded the little tree,
Was the same as all the rest.
But, the little tree's trunk had a decided bend,
And its top was very thin at best.

Small was the chance that this little tree would
Grace any home with Yuletide lights that dance.
As people strolled through the cutting grounds,
They all passed by, without so much a glance.

Only a week remained before Christmas Eve,
And still the ragged little tree stood there,
Almost alone now, its neighbors had all been taken.
Not a brightly colored ball would grace its branches bare.


"Over here! Over here!" a little girl cried out.
"Oh, Mommy isn't this the most perfect one?"
She skipped down to the little tree with glee,
"I've found my very own, favorite Christmas tree!"

"Don't you think we could find a better tree?" Mother asked.
"Its branches are wide and needles are few."
"But, Mommy, it looks so lonesome here."
"And besides, I'll make it look like new!"

The little tree was placed with care,
In the corner of the little girl's room.
She dangled lights from every branch and bough.
The little tree grew very special, somehow.

All her friends and relatives were bound to see,
Her very own "special" Christmas tree!
And none of the other trees could compare,
To the attention that ugly little tree did share.

All through the holidays it shone.
Brightening its corner of that happy home.
It stood straight up, as best it could,
And held her decorations proudly, as she knew it would.

Then came the day to take it down.
Her Dad de-tinseled it with a frown.
The little girl, with tears on her face,
Helped tote the little tree out of her little space.

"Hey, I've got an idea!" Dad said with a grin.
"The birds need a feeder and this is just the thing!"
They stood the little tree where all could see,
And watched pieces of bread being eaten by wee

You know, it matters not how grand one might be,
Beauty is often beneath the bark, you see.
A scraggly little pine tree with branches askew,
Had helped this little girl's Christmas dreams come true.


Merry Christmas Anna, from Dad.

And, Merry Christmas to my readers! Stay safe!

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