Monday, December 05, 2022

Selecting the perfect tree is a sacred event.


Picking out a Christmas tree is a sacred event. I don’t mean ordering an artificial tree on line or at any store. (It is okay if that is what you do! No judgement here!!)  But for me, the hunt for the perfect tree is just about the most important event of the season.

Luckily, Aaron’s family is close by and they always call and say, “Can you go today at 3:00?” No matter what I am doing or what plans I already have, I change them immediately as I cannot turn down this offer.

How many years have I tramped through the woods looking for the perfect tree. I loved doing this with my dad as a kid. Oh, the smell of the pines in the woods. I guess I do feel a bit sorry for folks who have never had the opportunity. We often walked through snow to get to our tree and drag it back to the car. In those days no one shook it to make sure squirrels weren’t hiding in the branches, and no one drilled a hole in the bottom for the new stands we use today! Dad tied it to the top of the car and we drove home singing all the way. Christmas Cookies and hot cocoa awaited us when we arrived home covered in sticky pine and boots full of snow. Dad and my brothers did the lights, and we did the rest. The most fun was tossing (throwing?) handfuls of tinsel on the tree. When all was beautiful, we shut out the lights and sang “Silent Night.” I want to think that maybe we held hands. Maybe we did and maybe we didn’t, but I think I shall remember as we did.

When my boys were little we took them to a Christmas tree farm to get their first tree. The farm was outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania with hills and farms all around. My boys tumbled in the snow and could barely walk. That first year the farm family gifted us our tree. I know I cried. Throughout all my life that I never have forgotten their kindness.

The tradition continued as we moved to Indiana and lingered over the trees at Booth’s Tree Farm. The year they were closing, it was so hard to say our goodbyes. Not just because of the trees, but because of the memories we had built up. So now where, we asked ourselves? We fretted a bit until Bud and Deb’s Christmas Tree Farm loomed onto the horizon as a giant gift to those of us who want to find and cut down our own tree.

This year, of course, was no different. Aaron and Rachel and the boys picked me up. I stuffed money in my mittens and off we went. Graham and Jonah were just like the little boys they once were laughing and playing around, even though we had no snow. They found their tree first, but finding my tree took much longer. Jonah did say, “Nannie, I am going to Snowcoming tonight, so could you find your tree, please?” At least he was polite. I just smiled and laughed. “You can’t hurry this along, you know!” Then the boys began trying to find my tree in earnest. Bud and Deb probably wondered what in the world we were doing out there in the forest. Finally, we found it.

Beautiful and sweet, there it stood waiting for me. And, yes, it did whisper back to me. Rachel and Aaron cut it down for me and we drug the two trees out of the beautiful forest. It was dusk and dark steel gray clouds began to drop rain upon us…or maybe it was snow? As I looked up to wonder about that, a huge flock of geese flew right over us still trying to get to their winter home. It was a moment. It was a moment of great beauty and peace.

Back at the barn, Bud drilled the holes in our trees for our tree stands and shook the trees. Luckily no squirrels jumped out. Inside the little gift shop, Deb was standing nearby to chat and offer cookies and candy canes. I pulled my money out of my mitten, but Aaron and Rachel paid for my tree. I cried.

My tree is in my front window of this old house. Oh, I still need to decorate it, but that will happen. Is it too early to wish you a Merry Christmas?

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