Our family has developed an odd holiday custom.
Six years ago, when we first moved to Evanston, we bought a Christmas tree. Nate and Si (mostly Nate) called this tree “Bob,” partly because they’re whimsical guys, and partly because it annoyed Pippa. Pippa felt that the tree shouldn’t have to endure the indignity of being named Bob; our Christmas tree should be permitted to stand with its intrinsic anonymous grandeur, or at least bear a more noble monicker. The boys’ usage prevailed, though, and all season we called the tree Bob.
The next year, the Pippa insisted that the tree not be named Bob — which insured that Nate and Si emphatically perpetuated the custom. Pippa’s monitory protestations bore a tinge of intra-sibling humor, and that year her objections seemed more a game than an actual claim on behalf of the beleaguered tree.
Beginning with the third year in Evanston, Pippa referred to the tree as Bob all season. Thus are traditions born.
Today, Pippa and I rolled down to the vacant lot next door to Reconciler, and bought this year’s Bob. He’ll move from the garage into our living room on Christmas Eve, occupying the space that till then will have been occupied by our piano, destined shortly to move to Heather’s place, via Micah’s mediation.