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The Tradition of the Christmas Bells, 2018

From 1974 until the year of her death in 2003, Barbara’s mother collected Wallace Silversmith’s Christmas bells. Before her passing, she bequeathed the bell collection to her niece Patty, who graciously gave the gift to my  wife, Barbara. Every year thereafter Patty has added to the collection by giving Barbara a newly minted bell for her birthday. In 2012, Barbara and I decided that that we would embellish the holiday swag on the hallway banister and display the bells, which at that point
had grown to 38.

Two years ago, our three year old grand daughter, Lucy, was enlisted to help, and, with my assistance placed the first bell on the swag. Last year, I held her as she climbed the stepladder and cautiously placed several bells on the greenery.This year I brought the boxes of bells down from the attic and placed them near the swag that I had attached to the staircase. Lucy and her mother had stopped for a visit and while we talked in the kitchen, Lucy slipped away. Secretly she found the stepladder and unpacked each of the bells. By the time we found her in the hallway, most of the silver bells were hung in place and Lucy was beaming
Lucy’s great grandmother never envisioned the scope of the collection she started 44 years ago. Though there were years that the bells were mute, thanks to cousin Patty and the wide eyed enthusiasm of five year old Lucy, the tradition continues. In the Jimmy Stewart movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the youngest daughter, Zuzu, provided the emblematic statement of the film, “Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” With Lucy’s and Aunt Patty’s help, several angels are getting their wings this holiday season.

George Rothacker, 2018