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21 Christmas trees not too many for Andy Young

By Kay S. Pedrotti In his 75th year, after at least 10 years of beautiful wall-to-wall Christmas decorating, Andrew Young is downsizing. ’Next year I’ll put up only four or five trees,’ he said. ‘That’ll be a big change for me.’ His Thomaston Street home has been decked out in almost every room for an annual Christmas gathering for 100 or so of his closest friends. Young said he always did Christmas trees, but after he retired the number gradually reached 21, this year’s total. Visitors will first see a Waterford tree in the front room, featuring the famed Waterford crystal ornaments as well as those of Lenox and Gorham. A special feature is a gold replica of The Titanic, positioned as cresting a wave or sinking from the wrong end first. While each tree has its own designation, ‘There are ornaments on every one that are just there because they mean something to me,’ said Young. The food tree is in the kitchen, hung with Hershey’s and Campbell’s soup ornaments, chefs including the Pillsbury doughboy, glitter-covered ice cream cones and other goodies. On the back porch is a toy tree depicting everything from Victorian to Disney. The angels, etc. tree is in a bedroom, accompanied by rainbow-lighted angels on the mantelpiece. There are trees of all sizes everywhere ‘“ two are in the bathrooms downstairs. Only one big tree is upstairs but an entire Christmas village of houses and shops can be seen individually on each stair step. The largest Christmas tree is 12 feet; there is a 10-foot tree and several seven and eight-foot trees. The shortest standing at five feet is an apple tree ‘“ of course, decorated with shiny red miniature apples ‘“ sitting across from another, shorter tree lighted by miniature liquor bottles. ’I took the mini-bottles and put lights in them,’ Young said. ‘I also made all the larger ceramic Santas in the kitchen and all those depicting Santa’s attire in certain years ‘“ 1910, 1845, 1960 and so on.’ There is a tree devoted to Santa figures and ornaments also; Young describes a Christmas mistake with that with that tree. ’My friends wouldn’t let me climb ladders while we were decorating, said I had no business doing that. Well, I noticed the Santa topper seemed to be leaning forward. I got a ladder, thinking, ‘˜nobody’s around, I can do this,’ and when I pushed Santa upright, I fell forward off the ladder and literally slid down the front of the tree. Didn’t get hurt, broke only one ornament and knocked off a couple of soft ones ‘“ other than that, every one of the 900-odd ornaments stayed on the tree.’ Ornaments for all the trees, including smaller ones on tabletops and other furnishings, number in the thousands. ’There is no way to keep up with how many are on each tree because I keep moving them around,’ said Young. The Christmas project has kept him busy, starting the day after Halloween, ever since he retired as a Bibb County school principal. Young also does oil paintings, including a big portrait of three of his granddaughters. He has three children, seven grandchildren and a new greatgrandchild. In his front room is a huge ‘mystery woman’ painting over the fireplace; he bought the artwork for $2.50 at an auction, intending to paint over it. ’She’s followed us around everywhere in all the moves and never been painted over. There’s something about her, even if we don’t know who she is. Visitors think she’s a family member, so she’s been everybody’s great-aunt or grandmother at some time. She might miss all the trees but she gets a lot of attention too,’ he mused.

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