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Friday, December 14, 2012

Felling the Tree

My daughter’s teacher sent home a note asking me to write a brief summary of one of our Christmas traditions.  Knowing that all the other students’ parents were most likely asked to do the same, I wracked my brain to think of something original.

I thought of what out family does annually that other families probably don't. Not everyone cuts a tree from the stump and hauls it home, I thought.  I’ll write about that:
Every year in December, about a week before the big day, we pile into truck and car and go in search of the perfect tree: A large feathery cedar with a single trunk and a bird’s nest.  Sometimes we hunt along the roadside.  Sometimes we ferret through forest and field.  Sometimes we look in peoples' front yards. Regardless of where we forage, we start out with high hopes and best intentions.
The night prior, my husband gathers all the necessary tools.  He gasses up the chainsaw, sharpens the handsaw and oils the drill.  A hammer, nails and wire are set at the ready.  And he grabs the duct tape, just in case.
As we go along the next morning, peeling our eyes for the prize, someone eventually shouts, “I see it!  There it is!”

“Oh, it’s beautiful, another voice,” shouts in agreement.
Everyone begins to ooohhh and aaahhh.  Then my husband points out the ignorable.  “It’s on the other side of the fence.  We can’t get a tree from that side of the fence.”

“I thought you brought the handsaw for getting trees on the other side of the fence,” an innocent child from the crowd suggests.  “It’s not loud like a chainsaw.  No one will hear it.”

Taking another approach, my spouse points out the log in our eyes.  “That tree is twenty feet tall with a trunk as big around as Paul Bunyan’s thigh.  It’s bigger than our living room.  We’ll have to chop it into sections to slide it through the front door.”
“So,” a sharp onlooker replies.  “I saw that you got out the wire and duct tape."

Before anyone realizes it, we've talked the patriarch into felling an arborist's dream and Santa Claus's nightmare. Some weak 7 year-old isn't holding up his end of the bargain or the branches as we struggle it into the truck bed. 

Once home, boughs sweep crystal angels from the living room mantel and suck all the joy from the occasion. My husband threatens to throw the thing into the yard. I say we should've just gone to a tree lot and bought a 4-foot, 2-week old, dried up evergreen like normal people. The kids toss on ornaments before its even strung with lights.

Three hours later, we sip hot chocolate and admire the behemoth in our living from a safe distance in the den. Someone sighs, "It's the most perfect tree we've ever had." And we're all reminded of what the season is all about.


Shelly said...

Big trees are a lot of work. Don't do trees, but then again, hubby is Jewish.

Happy Holidays.

Hugs and chocolate,

William Kendall said...

My brother and I have a bit of a tradition... every year he'll sigh and tease, "Once again, you've ruined Christmas."

Lucy Adams said...

I think your brother and I would get along well.

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