I am a pushover. So when a friend called me up and suggested that our group decorate a tree for Zonta’s annual Festival of Trees. I said, “Okaaaaay …”
Honestly, I just never pictured myself participating in this type of charity or volunteer work. Handing out water at a 5k, yes. Making a cake of myself on career day in front of a bunch of third-graders, sure. Helping little old ladies get to the doctor, gladly. Decorating a Christmas tree? Ummm.
Don’t get me wrong; this is a worthwhile cause. The money Zonta collects will go toward scholarships and financial help for women and children in the Middle Keys area. I’m all for that. But this bit of charity work just seems so “grown up” and “sober” (remember that word for later), I just wasn’t sure my wise-cracking self was up to the task. But as the usually the case, solidarity with my chosen sisters beats squeamishness.
Fortunately, the manager of the “Moms of Marathon” — our group decorating the tree — held the first meeting of the other nine ladies without me. (We consist of Michelle, the instigator, Wendy S., the style maven, Lisa Z., Lisa T., Laura M., Anne R., Leslie R., Cherie D., Sarah F., Anneke P. and myself.) Even so, they shot down my ideas in absentia. Apparently, “zombie” and “UFO” are not suitable themes for Christmas trees. (Why not? I have high hopes for next year, though, so don’t try to steal my ideas.) They agreed on a theme and then, exhibiting huge amounts of organization and pro-activeness, scheduled follow up meetings and assigned tasks.
Our next meeting was at Michelle’s house. We worked on fleshing out the ideas of our chosen theme. As a team, we showed great sportsmanship — listening to each others ideas patiently and making sober (there’s that word again) financial decisions to balance the cost to the tree-decorating members with the financial gain to Zonta, represented by the number of raffle tickets sold to “win” our tree. We made more lists and checked off the Christmas tree elements from tree topper all the way down to tree skirt.
We had one more prep meeting that consisted mainly of spreading gold glitter all over poor Michelle’s house. Her coffee table now has a very Baroque patina and her burly husband can’t help but leave the house with bits of glitter stuck to all the manly things he owns.
Then, last Sunday, we all converged on the Marathon Airport to set up our tree. We went right to work, fluffing our artificial tree. Then carefully arranging the garland. (I had no earthly idea that went on first. That bit of ignorance demoted me to organizing the decoration table and patting Amy G’s baby daughter to sleep when she started to fuss.)
I had plenty of time to see the other ladies begin to set up their trees. There are about a dozen in all, plus some wreaths.
There’s a lot of creativity in those trees and, at the risk of sounding crass … good stuff! A bicycle, toys, lottery scratch-off-tickets, even …. booze. Yes, the Moms of Marathon’s tree is themed “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” It’s hung with tiny bottles of liquor, plus it has 11 baskets of cheer underneath. Yes, we’re in it to win it. (Literally. We think it would make a marvelous New Year’s Eve starter kit.)
(Editor’s Note: No alcohol was consumed during the writing of this column, or the making of the tree. Missing from our tree is the planned tree topper, an adorable clock, that died a violent death at the hands of Sarah F.)
Don’t miss the fun:
- Saturday, Dec. 6: Pictures with Santa to benefit Stanley Switlik from 10 a.m. to noon at the Marathon Airport.
- Saturday, Dec. 6: Festival of Trees Holiday Gala from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Marathon Airport. Raffle tickets are $5 each or six for $20. Tickets to the gala are $40 each.