Though the tree in front of him stands near seven feet tall and four feet wide, covered limb to limb with ornaments and colored lights, he sees something different. As he reclines on the couch, gazing at the tree, memories storm his mind. Memories of Christmas when he was a boy, about 1943. He vividly recalls the shiny ornaments placed deep inside the tree where the natural gap between branches lies. These ornaments reflected the lights in the room as did the aluminum garland and lead tinsel.
Never taking his eyes off of the tree he recalls the toy he received, a hand made wooden tractor with working wheels. When asked about the tractor, Jim joyfully asked with anticipation "would you like to see a picture of it?" He was hoping I would say yes and I did. His face lit up just to show me a picture of his handcrafted tractor from seventy years ago. Sure enough, he located the photo and with a great big smile on his face and a spring in his seat, he pointed to the photo on the screen. The tractor was larger than I had imagined. It was tall and narrow and he was sitting in the dirt with it. I am so glad that I asked to see it, for more than the tractor, the joy on Jim's face was priceless.
Pressing the arrow on the computer screen the photo advanced and he gladly brought me back in time as he told me the stories behind each one. It was interesting seeing and hearing his stories and as I did something magical happened. Though I was standing behind a man who was looking at pictures on a computer, I only saw the smiles and times inside the pictures. Then the smile was on my face and we were both happy.
I'm not old enough to have known seventy years, but after listening to my dear friend Jim and seeing things as he sees them, I have a good idea of how it was. I can't wait to go back there and visit again. Thank you Jim for taking me back in time and sharing with me the memories of your journey from then til now.