My not-so-bright angel

Education reporter Laura Grevas has the cutest little Christmas tree on her desk, made for her by her grandmother, I think she said. Like me, Laura is a collector of giraffes, so the little tree has several giraffe ornaments, along with little pink roses and beads.
Our sports editor Aaron Hagen is, well…the phrase “absolutely goofy” comes to mind. He decided the tree looked bare without an angel, so he cut out one of his mug shots from the paper and taped it to the top of Laura’s little tree.

You know, just typical every day insanity here at the Daily Globe. I laughed like a loon.

It did make me think of the angel we use on our tree at times. She alternates years with a cute Santa topper, depending on what we’re in the mood for when we put up the tree.

I bought her on clearance years ago, just shortly after Nick was born. She wasn’t that expensive, but back then we were still on Navy pay, so things were very tight. I almost bought her at full price before Christmas, but was due to have Nick any day and didn’t want to spend the extra $40.

A few weeks after Christmas I saw her sitting on a shelf looking lonely. She was also half price. I was so pleased.

Our angel has a pretty little doll face, blonde curly hair, a golden halo, and a body made out of wire. Over the wire is her pretty white dress, stretched over the wire. She has her arms stretched out to the sides, and in each hand holds a light. When plugged in, white lights glow through her dress and out of her hands.

Well, the first year, anyway.

I had almost forgotten about her by the next Christmas. We had moved from Florida to a town house in Great Lakes, Ill. during the year, so we had to find new places for all our decorations. It was early December and the beautiful angel had been in her little box for 11 months. We pulled her out and Maggie said, “Oooooh!” Nick was just a year old and really didn’t care. He was too busy trying to eat the tinsel.

We got the tree decorated and I picked Mags up so she could put the angel up on top. We turned out the lights, plugged in the tree and gasped at how beautiful it was. We were especially pleased with ourselves because company was coming. Our friends Duane and Lynn Westlund were on their way from Stacy (just north of the twin cities) and Maggie and I were gussying up the house.

Our friends arrived the next evening, and in the chaos, we didn’t get around to turning the Christmas tree lights on until late that night. Then I got sad.

The tree lights came on, but my angel wouldn’t light up. I was so bummed!

The next day, after a busy day of showing our friends around the naval base and stuff like that, my husband Eric and Duane de-cided they would fix the angel by rewiring her.

While Lynn and I cleaned up the supper mess, the men grabbed a spare string of lights and went to work. Personally, I think they strung out the length of time it took to get it done so they could avoid kitchen duties. Nevertheless, they were quite proud of themselves when they had gotten the angel rewired and back on the tree.

Nick was already asleep, but Maggie sat wriggling in anticipation as the men went through a big fuss — diming the lights, fake drum roll, yada yada.

They plugged in the tree, and suddenly there was brightness in the dark of the room. A lot of brightness. Really bright brightness.

I don’t know what they did, but that angel was bright. I’m talking about “don’t look directly at the angel” kind of bright. Burn your retinas bright. Her head was glowing like it was about to explode.

But before we could say anything more than, “Holy bright angel!” there was a poof, a small amount of spark, and everything went dark again. It was especially noticeable after looking at a million candle watt angel, I suppose.

In the absolute stunned silence, Maggie whimpered softly and the adults took a collective breath. A curl of smoke wafted through the air. Someone started snickering softly. Pretty soon we were all laughing so hard we were crying.

We had to take her off the tree to make sure nothing started on fire, and I had to wash soot off her tiny little face.

I couldn’t get rid of her after that. Like I said, I still use her every other year or so – without lights, of course.

Just thinking of that night still makes me smile.