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Saturday essay: A special tinsel

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

The freshly trimmed Christmas tree is radiant in the soft glow of its miniature lights reflecting off the ornaments and history itself. For you see, at least five generations are represented on the fresh-cut, 8-foot Fraser fir.

There's the tattered handmade Santa from one set of great-grandparents made as the 19th century turned into the 20th.

There are classic hand-painted glass ornaments from grandparents dating to the 1930s. And from the lean war years of the '40s, there's a World War II fighter plane.

Then there are the plastic wonders of the 1950s and '60s. Among them, colored “lanterns” with feather-light aluminum blades inside that spin with the house breezes.

There's also the funny decor from the '70s and '80s — a running reindeer, a miniature six-pack of beer and Eddie's RV from “Christmas Vacation.”

And what Christmas tree would be complete without a sampling of decorations made by two daughters as the last century turned?

But there's a very special “new” old item on the tree this year — a few strands of wide tinsel dating to the 1950s. It was found just this past spring in a box of Dad's old HO model trains.

Not allowed to sparkle for more than half a century, it occupies a front-and-center place of honor, reflection and history truly rolled into one.

— Colin McNickle

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