Wednesday, December 15, 2010

O Christmas Tree

This time of year makes me miss my daddy. I know a lot of people miss their parents around the holidays, but it's usually because they are deceased. Thankfully, mine's not. But this time of year makes me think of him and wish we lived closer.

Why? Partly because it's the Christmas holidays and being close to family is nice. But the main reason is because, without him, I'm on my own to get Christmas tree.

I have the best memories of being a little girl and going out to hunt for the perfect tree. It would be sacrilegious to have an artificial tree, as everybody knows. And we weren't ones to buy one from the Optimist Club in the Kroger parking lot. Heck, we didn't even go to a Christmas tree farm. We were the kind of family that did it right!

We got all bundled up nice and warm and loaded into my dad's pickup truck. We didn't really have a destination, just a purpose: find the perfect tree. We'd drive around and dad would slow down and look around, then drive on. Then he'd slow down and we'd hear him say, "hmmm" followed shortly after by, "I bet... hmm. Come on kids, let's see what we can find."

We'd then park on the side of the road, grab the saw and go searching for a tree. I learned all about barbed wire and how to judge if it's best to go over or under. We'd find a great tree, saw it down, throw it over the barbed wire, toss it in the truck and be on our merry way. What's funny about all this is that I had NO IDEA we were trespassing on somebody else's property and cutting down their trees. I just thought it was how everybody got a Christmas tree. But as an adult, and seeing how much trees are, I now know it was because we were POOR. (Isn't it funny though how as kids we don't realize the reasons behind the things our parents do?)

As I got older, we did begin to go to the Christmas tree farms and choose our trees legally. To this day, I don't know if that's because we had more financial stability or if my dad grew a conscience. Or maybe he was worried that now that we were older and not quite as little and cute, people would be less likely to be in the "Christmas Spirit" and let it go if we got caught.

One year my mom bought an artificial tree and quickly got the wrath of my brother and me. (And we were grown, not even living at home.) But now that I have to clean up after a real tree, I can certainly see the allure.

So I knew that I wanted my kids to have the real tree experience. I was excited the first year my dad came to pick up Joshua to take him to the Christmas tree farm down the road and let him pick out and saw down a tree. And it became a tradition. So much that last year, after we had moved 450 miles away, Joshua asked when Grandpa Phil was coming to take him to get a tree! (I was kind of wondering myself...)

Anyway, although I miss the tradition, and I miss my dad having a part in it, we have a tree. A real one. And the local Optimist Club members sitting in their trailer in the Kroger parking lot have way too much of my money.

The upside though, no clothes have to be replaced due to being caught and torn on the barbed wire.

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