(Dover, NH) - Since the early 1980's, I have spent the first Friday in December watching the lighting of Dover's municipal Christmas Tree.

Don Briand photo

Around 1982, Dover resident Bette Couture decided that we should have a "living" Christmas tree for the children to decorate each year. She approached city officials who agreed to plant a small spruce tree in Henry Law park.

That December, the tree "spoke" for the first time, telling those gathered on a cold Friday evening about how it got to be the Dover Children's Tree, and inviting all to bring a decoration to help brighten the holidays.

Don Briand photo

For 28 years, I was honored to be the voice the that tree, hiding in various places with a microphone and talking to those assembled, mentioning several by name, and watching the beaming faces of the children (and not a few adults) as the tree asked Bette Couture, and later Andy Galt, to "turn on my lights so I can shine brightly for all of you".

Several years ago, it was decided that the tree had grown too big and was blocking the view in Henry Law Park. As the tree told the story that December, "I have been so beautifully decorated that Santa has chosen me to be the official Christmas tree in the North Pole".  The next month, the tree was "gently removed" from the park, never to speak again. (I jokingly refer to this as the Silence of the Limbs!).

The tree decorated this year was donated by the Plodzik family after it was blown over in the November storm. Last Friday night, I watched as Andy Galt turned on the lights to Dover's Children's Tree, which again shines brightly for all of us.