I hear a song by the Carpenters, Richard and Karen, as I write that title.
Digging out my Christmas tree made me think of years past and all the trees that came before.
Mom and I would go to Eric Johnson’s feed store here in town. He had little tree’s nailed to wooden x’s on the bottom as a stand. They stood out in front of the store. We would choose one, taller than me, and have it loaded into our car.
I thought it was grand. Those trees smelled so good. They lost tons of needles, and I am sure Mom was glad when she didn’t have to water it anymore.
Those were the trees that made Christmas special. Homemade ornaments and presents tucked under the lower branches.
When we lived in Germany we had a tiny tree bought from the corner tree stand. It was beautiful (but that first tree on your own always is).
There were many trees bought for the houses in Edgerton. Mom had gone to having a “fake” tree. She threw a sheet over it and stood it in the corner out of the way.
I thought that was silly, but now I know she needed that sparkly bit of hope for those long winter months.
If you have a relative that does this, don’t scoff at them. Make a mental note to arrive after Thanksgiving and help them get their tree out and set it up. Then go back and help them take it down. The gratitude in their eyes will tell you all you need to know.
When my kids were little we would go to the tree farms with family or friends. Zach loved running and hiding behind the trees as a little guy. His Dad would hoist him on his shoulders and let him scout for a perfect tree.
My eyes were always bigger than my rooms or space for the trees. I wanted a ten food tree that was so dense and full it wouldn’t fit in the tree shaker or wrapper.
Many times my choices were cast aside. When the bow saw came out and the tree trunk was inspected they were deemed too crooked to be placed in a tree stand or too tall or had just too big of a bad spot to hide in the corner.
The corner of our living room had eye bolts screwed into the wall frame. Our monster trees were tied and wired to those eye bolts. This was after a perfectly fine huge tree decided to fall and landed where our son had been lying on the floor to look at it just moments before.
One extremely bad weather year, we went tree hunting with our friends the See family. This was the only weekend we could go tree searching. We were rewarded with a horrible ice storm and extreme cold. We picked out trees frozen solid with ice. Becky and Bear hanged them in their basement for several days to thaw them out.
There used to lots of tree farms to pick from in this area. Tree farming is hard and very labor intensive. Plus it takes at least seven years to get sellable sized tree.
There was one place up by Lawrence. It had a long curved drive way. The house had trees growing everywhere. It was two stories with a large front porch. Every upstairs window had an evergreen wreath with a large red bow. There was always an electric candle set on the inside sill. I always wanted to live in that picture perfect place.
I always love Christmas trees. This year I picked the smallest of my three to get out to put up. It is bright and fun and easy for me to manage.
No one needs to know how long I leave it plugged in. No one judges for keeping it around just a little bit past Christmas.
I miss the live trees. I miss the smell and the shape. I don’t miss the needles and crawling under to water them.
Stop and look at your tree. Be it big or small. Fully decorated or just light and a few decorations.
Enjoy the season. If you need to help someone with their tree. Memories are made of these things.
Long ago but not so far away; Christmas trees were everywhere