Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Chritmas Tree: Part One
Look at that beauty. Seriously, please take a moment to bask in all that is awesome about that fine specimen of Blue Spruce. Take a moment to enlarge the picture to seriously check out some of the ornaments and the hand made tree skirt. There is quite an eclectic mix. Did you see the delicate aspen tree leaf we picked up in Aspen, Colorado? How about the hand crafted Chinese ornament or the crystal ballerina? The small, red circle is a picture of my loving wife circa 2nd grade. It would take days for me to fully explain the visual beauty of this tree.
What’s more ridiculous is how amazing it smells. Moving through my family room is like moving through an olfactory version of a Robert Frost poem. The smell is more robust than an entire package of those pine tree air fresheners my dad used to hang on the rearview mirror of his car. When I trudged out of my bedroom this morning I could catch just a hint of pine when I hit the top of the staircase. By the time I made it to the kitchen it was, “Helloooo Christmas!”
I can bask in the glory that is this tree now, but last night I wasn’t too sure it was all that wonderful. Upon reflection I am quite impressed this tree is still in my house. It, or maybe me, nearly needed to be put out of its misery over a 30 hour stretch that started around 2:00 pm Saturday. Actually, the idea of this tree started well before that.
About A Week Ago
“Hey Tony, did you know there is a place that is not too far from here that we can cut down our own tree?”
“Really? I am not too sure that I want to do that.”
“It’ll be GREAT! The kids need to experience cutting down a tree at least once before they get too old.”
“Jules, did you ever go out and try to cut down your own tree when your were a kid?”
“No, but –”
“You turned out okay”
“That’s not the point, we should do this. It’ll be GREAT!”
Saturday at 2:00 pm
After being persuaded that driving 45 minutes to walk out into a snowy, muddy mess of a farm in 20º weather was what I really wanted to do I had the sudden realization that I freak out driving 5 minutes with a tree strapped to the top of my minivan. I am definitely not going to be able to survive a 45 minute jaunt through winding country roads wondering if my life is going to morph into an Allstate commercial. So I convince my wife we need to take both cars and we’d throw the Christmas tree in the back of the van. My son Hank decides to come with me. That was a good thing. We spent most of the time talking about sports and I didn’t have time to think about all of the potentially negative things that could happen over the next two plus hours.
Saturday at 2:45 pm
Pulling into the tree farm was a sight to behold. Literally acres of snow caked spruce and pine lined up in rows under a grey-blue sky. If you look at it head on … gorgeous. If, like me, you look at it out of the corner of your eye, you might flashback to a scene from Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas.
The four of us plodded up a 100 yard muddy dirt/gravel path to get to the structure where we could pick up a map of the farm, a candy-cane striped bow saw, a sled and a hearty, “Good luck and have fun finding that perfect tree.”
My daughter Ellie quickly scanned the map and started lobbying for the trees that were about 25 feet away, but that just didn’t quite work out. The four of us meandered though endless fields debating the qualities of the Canaan Pine vs. the Frasier Fir vs. the Austrian Pine and many others before deciding on a roughly seven foot tall Blue Spruce.
Saturday 3:25 pm
Grabbing the saw that Hank is so deftly holding in the picture above I squat like a catcher and saw away for about a minute. Due to a lack of leverage I slump to my knees and continue sawing like a madman for what felt like 5 minutes without even looking at the base of the tree. Taking a moment to catch my breath I checked my progress. The saw was about a fourth of the way through. And I thought this might be hard! Eventually, I won. Of course my pants were soaked and muddy, both arms hurt and we still had to get this bad boy back to the barn to pay up.
Saturday 3:35 pm
Ellie, wait up. Thanks for taking care of the saw Hank, I got the tree. Julie takes over when we get to the barn so I can hustle down to the parking lot in order to pull my van up into the “tree loading zone” When I left there were several trees all wrapped up in their hair nets ready to be chucked into the back of a truck or lassoed onto the top of a car.
When I return with the van, there our tree is looking ready to go, but no fancy net. I can’t seem to find my family. Walking around the corner, I was glad to see they weren’t getting hot chocolate. I’d been a little hacked if they were enjoying some partially yummy hot drink without me. After all, I did all the work. The three of them came bounding out of the barn and Julie informs me the guy who helped her was worried putting the tree through the netting device might break branches. I got the message that undoubtedly the branches were frozen and we happened to choose a wide tree.
I look at the tree. I look at my van with the hatch open. I look at the tree. I think, nope it isn’t going to get in there. A nagging itch in the back of my brain that is telling me, “They are going to try to convince you to strap the tree on top of the van.” We drove two cars so we wouldn’t have to do that.
“We are going to go back to that guy and have him put a net on the tree.” I say a calmly as possible.
Thankfully no branches snapped as the guy wiggled the tree through the netting ring and we were able to toss the tree in the back of the van. Driving home was not too bad except that even with the net, our extra wide tree filled up the entire back of the van. All I could see out the rear view mirror was pine needles. Thankfully Hank has never met a moment of silence in his life. He calmed me down with another 45 minutes of sports opinions and questions.
The tree is safely in our garage. No branches have snapped. I haven’t snapped. As we make it into the house my wife proclaims, “Wasn’t that GREAT. We should make this a new yearly tradition!”
Coming tomorrow, decorating our tree.