Tree Lot

The joy of finding that perfect tree for Christmas. It never fails: wandering around from tree lot to tree lot, looking at prices and needles. Back in the day, we as a family, would get dressed in our warm clothes and head on down to the local lot with the other families. The scout master would be next to the oil barrel fire while drinking his "hot chocolate" or whatever it was while the scouts ran here or there, trying to sell an overpriced, dead, brown-needled, green-painted tree to those that dared step foot in their presence.

Once finding the tree that Mom and Dad could agree on—due to many things, especially price—found its way on the roof of our truck, roped down and tied in place, we would go home and have the pleasure of watching dad measure the tree and make adjustments to the trunk. The placement of the tree would begin, then the growling and hushed tones of disagreement and rising tempers back and forth from parent to parent. After the tree was in the "proper" place, the lights had to be strung, another joyous occasion, only to raise blood pressures due to us kids with the promise and excitement of Christmas decorating.

Every year was the promise of an artificial tree and one year it came. I couldn't stand it. I hated, no, loathed artificial trees. I promised myself that I would never have one.

Once married, my wife and I began with our own tradition. We found our first tree on her parent's property. Others we found on lots peppered around town and on my parent's property. The joy of wandering lot to lot gave way to that of wandering from tree to tree at the local tree farm where "you cut, you buy". Our tree last year cost on the other side of $60. But it was always the same thing with us as well...pick it out and rope it down, get it home, measure, cut and place. once in place, I had the task of lighting it. Once lit, it was leaning to one side. Proceed to lay on the floor, adjustments made: “Too much.” “Not enough.” “This way.” “That way.” “Hold it here.” “Wait,” “Go back.” Every year, the growling and hushed tones between my lovely bride and I. Every year, the growling and hushed tones between my lovely bride and I.

This year, and the past umpteenth years, an artificial tree has sprung up in our livingroom...

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