I cant remember if I told this story before or not, but here it goes again.
A few years ago – I was poking around online, when I ran across an add that said “Christmas Village” free to good home. Now, ever since as long back as I can remember, we have been in love with these villages. The little train tracks, trains, people and tiny trees. It was a little girls heaven, and once, when we went to visit a great aunt, she let us set the trees up. I remember walking down the aisles of Christmas Villages with our mom, taking in the beauty (and of course, prices) of them. So when I saw the add, I jumped it. We made a phone call, and arranged to go pick up our very own Christmas Village.
Later that night we drove 11 miles – only to discover, the Christmas Villages weren’t what we were thinking. Somewhere in the communication it was lost that these houses, villages, were hand painted, handcrafted by the owner, meaning more to her than anyone really. Infact, It didn’t mean anything to us when she said that “School was painted by little Billy in the 2nd grade” and so forth.
She led us into her old abandon house, explaining that they just had a new house built, a much smaller house, and that she couldn’t take all of her Christmas stuff with her. She said she tried to have a garage sale, but no one wanted anything. The house was falling apart, leaning terribly to one side, with pieces of plywood covering big gaps. It was cold, dark, wet, and clammy. “But wait!” she said “You first must see the rest of the house – and take all of this stuff with you too!” She led us through the house, her and her older son, with only a small light.
The room – was FILLED with nutcrackers. Big ones, small ones, medium ones. Bigger ones, smaller ones, smaller than small ones, and bigger than big ones. Fat ones, skinny ones, tall ones short ones, and well, you get the idea. The house was literally LOADED with nutcrackers.
She led us to another room “And you must take Tiny Timmy and his father!” she exclaimed, as her son held up a three foot tall doll that swung back and forth when plugged in. Tiny Timmy you see, was abandon by his parents, and this person holding him was not his father, but a kind hearted gentleman folk come to rescue Timmy for the holiday season. At this point we started to be a little overwhelmed. We had come to get something there apparently wasn’t, and we were leaving with more junk than we really needed.
But somehow, we felt bad for her. Her house was going to be crushed, and with it all of her prize possessions. What could we do?
We loaded the van, and made numerous trips over the next few days. Boxes, and piles, and boxes and MORE boxes. Of nutcrackers, painted houses, tiny Timmy and his father, and that old “Spice bear that was hand packed with hand picked spices, FRESH! Every year!” that smelled of mildew and weighed atleast 20 pounds. There were lights, and bells, and whistles, and of course, Little Billy’s third Christmas lights from his third Christmas! She could bear to see those get smashed with the house, but had no room in her new house! Could we take it? And care for it? And love it till death do we part? In went the lights. More nutcrackers, and more junk.
So much stuff. Broken pieces of plastic figurines filled the living room, and soon we were tripping over the dancing bunny and Tiny Timmy and his father. There were the Christmas Carolers, and nutcrackers…more of them.
Eventually, dad got tired of seeing a wise-man stare at him every night and the few select pieces of the nativity scene that stood three feet tall, with missing pieces, were sent to the garage, the boxes of nutcrackers were stuffed in the attic along with the spice bear and his friends, and the villages were banished to the other attic. A few boxes of lights were strung on the tree that year, and the rest were lost among the garlands and other objects.
But the nutcrackers, for some reason, have never been lost. We still have the boxes of them upstairs in our attic, the back one, to be exact. You open a box, and you will see, hundreds of little men laying in a box, showing off their purely whites and chins that move when you pull on the wooden lever in their back. Their white beards that have turned colors with age, and hats that have broken off. Fat little men sit in their respective boxes, all but forgotten, but still smiling, while the mouse king and his kin sit in the box next door.
Which leaves us with a few questions and maybe one or two conclusions. And definitely a lesson.
Who came up with the name…nutcracker? Why are they still in our attic? And finally – never, ever, EVER, respond to an add that say “Free Christmas Villages” they arent free, and they arent empty. Those villages are occupied by hundreds, if not thousands of tiny men. And of course, Tiny Timmy and his “Father”, who we just cannot bear to banish to anywhere but the garage.
With of course, the giant, dancing bunnies…