I am linking to In Other Words. The prompt is: “The Christmas tree is the dot on the “i”.” Frank Taylor or Christmas Tree
Every year my parents and my brother and I would go out in the cold to a Christmas tree lot to get our tree. Sometimes we went to more than one place. The tree had to be perfect. Perfect to my mother was no bare spots, to my father a straight trunk, to my brother not too fat or too skinny and for me tall.
We would look and inspect and study and finally settle on a tree. Never a perfect one. Either it had a crooked trunk or a bare spot, it was too fat or too skinny and usually shorter than I wanted.
Then one year we got a tree with a straight trunk, no bare spot, and just the right dimensions. Hooray! We took it home and the next day brought into the house. Daddy set it up and put the lights on and the angel on top. Mom put a few special ornaments where she wanted them then went to fix something to eat. My brother and I finished with the ornaments and tinsel. It was perfect!
With the tree all decorated and lit we went to the kitchen to eat and talk about our most wonderful tree. While we were there in the kitchen we heard some tinkling sound and a sort of whoosh. Then a crash of breaking glass and scattered balls and beads rolling across the floor. Our beautiful perfect Christmas tree had fallen down and was laying across the living room rug.
Daddy went and got some twine and nails, set the tree back up and anchored it to the wall. Not so perfect anymore, but still straight and tall with no bare places and just the right proportions. It was still our beautiful tree just a bit tattered and tired looking.
One of my favorite memories of Christmas is getting the Christmas tree. It was always an event. Dressed in parkas, hats, scarves, gloves, and boots we would get in the car and with great excitement head out to the Christmas tree lot.
Once there we would wander the lot looking for the perfect tree. Of course, we each had a different idea of what perfect was; Ma liked them sort of short and kind of fat, my brother wanted it tall and fat with long needles, I wanted it tall and slender with short needles,none of us wanted any bare spots, and Daddy didn’t care how tall or short, long or short needle, fat or slender, he wanted it not to cost too much, and the trunk must be straight–that was the most important consideration.
We would look at dozens of possibilities; standing them up and twirling them to make sure there were no bare spots and that the trunk was straight. It seemed that Christmas trees do not grow that way so we would settle for the least crooked tree. We could put the bare spot to the wall and the tree holder base thingee could be shimmed to make the tree look straight and it wouldn’t fall over.
Well one year, I think I was about ten, the most amazing thing happened. We found a tree; not too short or tall with needles that were neither long or short, it wasn’t slender or fat, sort of between, and there were no bare spots, the trunk was straight ,and the price was right. We were in Pine Tree Paradise! We could hardly wait to get home and put this perfect tree in the living room and get it decorated.
Getting it in the house and decorating it is a whole nother story. This part of the tree ritual was written in stone somewhere never to be deviated from. Here goes: First, Daddy brings the tree in and puts it in the tree stand which requires some sawing and screwing and swearing. Second, Daddy is in charge of the lights–I should mention here that Daddy was fond of liquid Christmas cheer–the lights take a while to get just right requiring everyone out of the room, except maybe Mr. Daniels (Jack) or if the tree cost too much then Bud would be there, and some colorful language.
Then finally we could go in and put the garland and ornaments on and finish with tinsel. There was always much discussion about this, too, and many opinions. Ma liked few ornaments and garland and some tinsel, my brother liked lots of ornaments and garland with just a little tinsel. I liked a lot of everything–hey, it’s Christmas you can be tacky–I mean you have a lighted tree in the living room people! It would all get done with no blood shed but sometimes there would be tears, then we would go have supper.
The year of the perfect tree things went without a hitch, it was really strange, everything just seemed to work. It was beautiful–perfect height, perfect needles, perfect shape, perfect lights and decorations. We were all so proud and happy; we practically floated into the kitchen for supper.
We talked and laughed about the day and how this is what Christmas tree day should be like every year–then there was this funny little noise, a sort of tinkling then a kind of creak–for the minute we tried to figure out what the noise had been –there was silence–then—
and another silence–
then we all ran into the living room to see our apparently not so perfect tree lying on the floor.
It is really something that the tree stood as long as it did. The poor tree had severe scoliosis and should have been spared the dubious honor of being a Christmas tree. Well, it got picked up and wired to the crown moulding–with the bare spot, where the branches had broken in the fall, facing the wall. The decorations that survived put back on and the tinsel–well it never did look quite right but it hung in there.
This really is one of my favorite Christmas memories–it is just so us.
So,here is some advise, if you are looking for a tree get one my family passes by–it will probably have a straight trunk and stand upright and tall for you. Also, make sure the one in charge of checking the trunk has not spent too much time with Jack or Bud before you go.