O Crappy Tree O Crappy Tree

For the last nine years I’ve been the poor schmuck assigned the task of buying the tree.

No one else had the time they always said.  

My youngest, who has had a real eye for balance and proportion ever since he first picked up a crayon to draw a Ninja Turtle, was off at college since Christmas of ’02 and of course Old Dave has never cared. He always just wants to do his Sudoku.

My problem doing the job alone is this: I’m not good at it.

One year I got some weird kind of tree with needles that LOOKED super soft but turned out to feel like asbestos fibers when you touched them. Plus they were so closely grouped on their branches that the ornaments you tried hanging on them ended up lying sideways.

Another year I’m told I got a tree that was way too small – who can tell when you’re there in the lot with no indoor walls or ceilings to give you a sense of scale?

Plus I  didn’t see the part on the tree’s side that was sort of scooped-out looking, probably because I have a part on my own side that looks that way, a spine that, once it turned 50, started taking a right-hand turn out of the lumbar gate, then changed its mind and went left, then righted itself to head  north again. I’d show you the X-ray but it’s too disturbing. My tailor screamed when he saw it and he’s a strong man. “God! Do you know what that LOOKS like?” he said but I wouldn’t let him go on. Bad enough knowing how I think it looks: like a fat worm, writhing. Like a slug, failing the sobriety test.

Anyway, that  year when College Boy came home  December 23rd he took one look at the tree and said “Oh.”

Then  “Hmmmm.”     

Then “Mum, don’t be mad.  I’m just going to go out and get another tree.”

I wasn’t mad. I’m never mad. My job in life is to make the first stab at a thing, so others can then come in and point out the problems.

He went out then and there and got a new tree, then took every light and ornament off the slug-tree and dragged it out on the porch…..

Where began our new custom of having a tree on the porch, which is now a fake tree that comes in several parts and that you jam together using its several daggerish stake-through-the-heart elements.

The year I first came home with THAT one was a big hit. “Old TT!” shouted College Boy’s father. “Buying just the essentials again I see!”

That’s a joke between us whose origins lie here, two posts back.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the saga.. But the holidays, man. Crazy-making or what?

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2 thoughts on “O Crappy Tree O Crappy Tree

  1. Externals. I know, it’s the way it goes this time of year. The Look. Add the anxiety of pleasing others and not failing with gift giving. You are the hero of your home Terry. The end result is anxiety when one is supposed to be at peace. Old Dave is on to something.Tis’ a pity our customs are not more geared toward the inner life. My sister Sue makes it easy for me. She sends a boxed Tree from Oregon, about 3 feet tall. A real tree, lush and thick. Oregon tree’s are like that. All perfect. Robust and full, dark green. I place it in my huge (front) bay window, throw some mini lights and stuff on it and I’m done. Because it’s a mini, it’s that much more attractive-people stop outside to view it and move on. The cats sit and stare at it…so they must like it. I do too. It’s scent is unlike any other, The Northwest. I use to be amazed at the competition connected to Christmas tree’s in the home. “Mine is bigger than yours..etc.” “My decorations are from Tiffany’s..” The whole thing turns into building a monument to ones ego. Yup. We stand back, like Renoir and examine it’s final touches..”Ahh! It’s finished!”

    After Christmas, I donate the tree, ready for planting, to the Bureau of Land Management. One day, it will be a big, strong Oregon Spruce and nobody will know it came from my home where as a baby it nestled in a bay window, the admiration of passersby and worshiped by five cats

    Instead of taking a tree..Sue gives one back to Nature. Not a bad gift at Christmas I’d say.

  2. We never got our tree until Chtistmas Eve. It was Mom’s and the kids job. Therefore the pickings were slim. Then it sat in the yard until Dad got home to nail some support on it to stand it up and secure it to the wall. We then got to decorate it with the :old: decorations we found. Many of the lights were so burned out that the color was off the bulbs. Ah, hah a slightly white tree. See ATAGIRL’S Blog for her interpretation. Many times the needles were like porcupine needles to try and decorate it. Try to put the bald spot in the corner was a trip, since the whole thing had bald spots. The decorating was the fun. One year we did popcorn stringing, which we took off and put in an old coffee can to use next year, Of course, we ate much of the popcorn as we were stringing and putting on the tree. Next year, it was quite rancid, since to eat it it needed salt and butter…. Best laid plans as they (who ever they are) say. The decorations were little better than the lights. Remember all the stuff we made from Kindergarten to 4th grade? Well it all had to go on the tree, even when we were in high school. The joy of Christmas is the memories of which we had so many wonderful ones. This is the true meaning of Christmas, even if our tree looked like the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, it was ours, and forever in our memory. Gwennie Talbot

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