SAN ANGELO, Texas (KLST/KSAN) — Located outside San Angelo – at coordinates 31.39033°N, 100.53102°W, to be precise – hikers, bicyclists and runners can find a single scraggly cedar bush in the west Texas terrain, glittering with ornaments and a red ribbon.
Bill Cullins, a resident of San Angelo, began decorating the bush with Christmas decorations in 2017 after his wife passed away. The bush can be found just beyond the yellow gates at Middle Concho Park on a trail at the base of what Cullins calls Spillway Hill in the Twin Buttes area.
After almost 45 years of marriage and 24 years of fighting lymphoma cancer, Cullins decided to remove the Christmas decorations from his house and remember his late wife Maria-Pai by decorating a cedar bush on a trail he began to cut out in 2001.
“She loved Christmas decorations,” Cullins said.
He chose this cedar bush specifically because of a rock formation that sits just across the path. He and his family have fond memories of posing for pictures on the rock formation and catching the view of the Twin Buttes that sit just past the bush.
“I thought, ‘You know, this is a spot on the trail that she liked,'” Cullins said. “We would hike out there quite a bit and when the kids or grandkids came home that was kind of a photo op spot, so I thought ‘I’ll just decorate that tree.'”
Multiple people have come out to help Cullins decorate this tree in honor of his late wife and others have joined him to remember loved ones that they have lost as well.
“It is the thought and the memory that counts so I keep doing it every year and plan to keep doing it as long as I can,” he said.
Cullins encouraged anyone that wants to honor a lost loved one this holiday season to bring an ornament or Christmas decorations to hang alongside the others. He plans on keeping the decorations on the tree until mid-January.