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Saturday's essay: Mom's good 'bulbs'

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Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

“Not my good bulbs! Don't use my good bulbs,” Mom would admonish from the family room couch as her three sons decorated the Christmas tree, usually during a busy, if not entirely chaotic, Christmas Eve.

The “bulbs” were Mom's precious glass and crystal ornaments from an era of craftsmanship long gone — at least as far as the trimmings of Christmas go. Sometimes, older brother Vinnie would put up one of those incredibly delicate ornaments — if only to get a rise out of Mom.

Each was a work of art, capturing beautiful scenes and Christmas sentiments in exquisite detail. But those fragile heirlooms were no match for King, the family's massive canine. And many didn't survive ol' King's curiosity.

So, year after year, those beautiful Christmas keepsakes remained tucked away in their original partitioned cardboard boxes — boxes so old that the cardboard was disintegrating.

Sadly, when time came to clean out the family house, the ornaments — what was left of them — were nowhere to be found. Like eldest brother Carmine's classic Lionel trains (which today would be worth a fortune), Mom's ornaments had disappeared into a black hole of neglect or disinterest — or, sadly, perhaps both.

Today, many years removed from those Christmas memories, the very best ornaments are the first ones on the tree at this son's house. And as each one in the collection is hung with care and fond memories, Mom always comes to mind.

— Bob Pellegrino

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