Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Trees

I just returned from a couple nights in the Cities. It is amazing how such a short trip takes so long with getting ready before and putting away after. The net result is that the spare bedroom is truly Santa’s workshop now. I am feeling pretty proud of myself because all the packages are mailed. Just like most of you, I am down to wrapping for people who will be here and baking cookies. Also today I get to decorate the tree.

Lee, Eva, Bruce and I cut trees on Sunday. It was Eva’s first experience actually cutting her own tree. Lee and she had spent part of a trip to Target getting all the necessary equipment for a Christmas tree. Now it was time to cut “THE TREE.” Bruce had already picked out an area of thick balsam that he wanted to thin out anyway. Christmas trees are one of the few reasons I can think of to cut down any tree. This is not a generally held opinion in our marriage.

At any rate the four of us walked around looking at the tops of trees. We always look for a good top and then cut as much off the bottom as needed to get the correct size. The tree must be examined from every angle. The trunk must be checked to make sure it is straight. Because the growth of branches is affected by nearby trees, one not so good side is allowed. That side goes against the wall.

Once the choices are made, it’s an easy job. Just zip with the chain saw and the tree is down. A little trimming and into the garage it does to thaw out. Lee and Eva put newspaper under theirs to soak up the thawing snow. That night they put on all the lights, ornaments and ribbons. On the bottom was a beautiful handmade skirt that Grandma June gave them for a wedding present. The tree looks lovely and I can see the glow in their eyes whenever we talk about it.

After all these years, Bruce and I are a little slower getting the tree up. We also have a few stories about getting trees. My favorite happened one of the first years we were married. On Sunday Bruce went out to cut the tree. I stayed in and was baking cookies. Suddenly the power went out. It was a beautiful, calm day. I thought, “No, he couldn’t have.” But, yes, he could have. The tree fell on the power line. Everyone from us up the Gunflint Trail lost their power. It was the most expensive tree we ever had.

I hope your tree is a pretty as ours. This will not be a stylishly decorated tree. For all I know, it may not even be political correct. Most of the ornaments have been with us for a long time. Many of them have stories attached to their coming into our lives. The tree skirt was a gift from Sheryl, one of our managers. I will have to get geared into watering the tree. It’s not something I remember easily.

But each night I will remember to plug in the lights. They cast such a warm glow in the living room and in our hearts.

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