Monday, December 8, 2008

One Present: Christmas Top Spins for 140th Year

RJ Note: This story just made me smile. The childhood memories of playing with tops and seeing how long I could make them spin are just, well, they just bring a sense of wellbeing and cherished memories up to the front of my jumbled brain.

/PRNewswire/ -- In Deer Park, Wash. this Christmas, a six-generation family tradition will mark its 140th anniversary. The small brass top David Linsley received as his only present when he was 6 years old has been spun on Christmas Eves since 1868.

The tradition began in Red Wing, Minn. where Dolph Linsley bought the spinning top for his young son. It was David's only present that year. He treasured the new toy so much that he began a personal tradition of spinning it every year on Christmas Eve. This year in Deer Park, Wash., the Forman family -- descendants of David Linsley -- will celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Christmas top.

When David died in 1937, his son, James Linsley, continued his father's annual holiday ritual. The top went to James' daughter, Ruth Linsley Forman, in 1974. Since Ruth passed in 2004, her husband of 60 years, Robert Forman, continues spinning the top on Christmas Eve at family gatherings with children and grandchildren.

The top is tarnished and dented with age now, but still reflects the fine craftsmanship of another generation. The spinning Christmas top is featured in "One Present," posted on YouTube.

There have been only two years when the top did not spin on Christmas Eve. David's family was completing their move to Litchfield, Minn. on Christmas Eve in 1904. David and his hired man unloaded three teams of horses and a pair of mules in the winter darkness. Driving their stock through Litchfield's main street, the mules woke the village with their braying, but the top was still in transit, packed deep in one of the wagons. The other time was in 1959, when James and Martha traveled to Rockford, Ill. for a holiday visit with the Formans and forgot to pack the top.

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