Ten dollars. I shuttered. Was I going to pay $10 for a Christmas tree? No way. Fortunately, neither Carol nor the kids were with me when I made the stop at a lot filled with trees. The kids and Carol …
Ten dollars. I shuttered. Was I going to pay $10 for a Christmas tree? No way. Fortunately, neither Carol nor the kids were with me when I made the stop at a lot filled with trees. The kids and Carol were ready to get into the Christmas spirit although we still had turkey leftovers in the fridge, but never enough cranberry sauce.
I favor waiting until Christmas week to get the tree. That’s usually when you got the best bargain although you risk getting the dregs. Carol knows me all too well, so I wasn’t surprised when I started getting hints such as, “Do you remember where we put the box of tree decorations?” or finding the paper open to a Christmas tree ad.
At one time the solution seemed simple enough: buy an artificial tree. That just didn’t seem right, besides a good artificial tree would have cost $40, and if you did the math that was good enough for five years of “real, not perfect trees” at my $8 threshold. That seemed like a sound financial decision but when it comes to firs (the trees, that is) there’s no substitute for the real thing. There’s no way you can fake the scent of pine or the prick of needles in stocking feet.
Then one year I was ready to splurge with $20 for a tree. It would be a live tree and I reasoned it would be good for at least two years if not longer. We’d plant it following its indoor display and then bring it back inside for the second year. By the third year we’d cut it down assuming it would get too big for a fourth year.
None of those were options the year that a ten dollar tree seemed outrageously expensive.
I returned several days later with the family. The lot had been well picked over. We searched for a “decent” tree, anything that didn’t look like it had been hit by a hurricane. I kept my eye on the price tags and pointed to a bedraggled specimen. The upper two feet of the tree were respectable, but the midriff looked like it had been given a buzz cut. It was wide open.
The kids were incredulous that I would even consider the tree. I thought of playing the sympathy card, “this poor orphan will still be here after Christmas,” but went for the grand slam.
“Does the price include those branches,” I asked pointing to a pile of cut boughs.
“Take as many as you like,” came the reply. My plan was to drill holes in the trunk of the scraggly tree and insert the boughs like plugs on a bald headed man.
I gladly paid the $7, but the plan didn’t work out as hoped. The boughs slipped in their holes. We should have named the tree droopy.
Now that the kids have long since left and there’s little left to surprise us. Carol declared as soon as we got home from Thanksgiving at my son Jack’s home, which was wonderful, “let’s get a tree.” I told her, “let’s wait,” which didn’t surprise her because that’s what I always say.
On Saturday, Carol took our granddaughter shopping in Wickford. On a whim I went to check out the trees at Confreda Farm. I found a beauty in no need of cosmetic surgery. When I got home, Carol was still shopping, so I set it up in the living room in “its place.”
When Carol pushed open the kitchen door I warned her, “We’ve got a strange smell in the living room.”
I knew what she was thinking. Ollie hadn’t been able to hold it several weeks ago. Were we faced with another cleanup?
Carol smelled the tree before she saw it.
“You got a tree,” she declared in disbelief.
“I’ll get the lights.”
“Let’s wait,” she responded. Now I was stunned.
I guess it’s best not to rush Christmas.