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The bough of holly that’d been hung haphazardly at the Orting Post Office finally swooped from the ceiling and dangled like a knee high sock at the ankle, blocking the entrance.

The next lady through the door wiped the bouncing bough from her face and stood on one saggy side of it as the four of us ahead of her stood on the other. There was a collective shrug. It didn’t seem right. Like maybe someone ought to fix the thing.

Which was when the twenty-something guy behind me, mailing a six foot poster tube, poked the droopy frond with his tube. Only his poke didn’t do much. The thing hung limp as before.

Poster guy turned to me. “How ’bout I lift you up and you push it back into the ceiling?”

“Heh, ” I breathed. “How ’bout it hangs there a little longer.”

We all twisted our faces in thought. We suddenly cared about this holly bough.

But our sentiment was interrupted by the counter clerk ‘s bark about decoration doom. Her finger wagged as her tongue spoke.  “It’ll never work,” she promised. “Just rip it down.”

Another post office customer inspected the bough.

But again the clerk ordered, “just rip it down. It’s over.”

And for a moment, it was over.

Until I turned a half glance and saw poster guy, without his poster, monkeying up the door jamb with the worn out bough.

“Aha!” we all grinned.

But the bough slipped and swayed a little lower now.

It was the naysayer again. “JUST RIP IT DOWN,” her lungs bellowed.

Only…only there was enough Christmas spirit spread ’round the room, enough Christmas spirit and enough packaging tape to flatten the poor bough above the door again.

We smiled.

Not because it was a holly bough.

Leftover from last year.

Drooped and weary like the rest of us. Revived with a wad of tape.

But because the act of rehanging it, the act of saving the sorry thing made some of us feel Christmas…

If just for a moment.


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