Thursday, December 9, 2010


For many of us, artificial trees, unless they were aluminum with a rotating stroke set to make the tree colors change, was not an option. I suppose in a city like we lived most people had a tree, one that had been alive at one time. As a child, I just assumed everyone had a tree. I am thinking maybe some people could choose a tree or a gift.

Ours came from a man that dug the basements for the houses my dad built as well as commerical buildings. Our tree was free. Well sort of. Another thing I didn't know is these trees were really tops of trees hauled out of Canada. I wonder if they spoke French?

Most of us remember a frozen tree, filled with snow and ice and it had to be placed in a warm environment to thaw. They always looked different once the branches had relaxed. It was Daddy's job to find the 'front', that is, the fullest side, most branches. It was also his job to cut it off, especially if the tree had a big knot on the base where it went into the stand.

Although I thought every tree was the very best. I do know there were bald spots and odd branches. I was told once we get the decorations on it, you won't be able to see it.

And so the tree stood for a few days filling the air with the aroma of evergreen. It would stand until an adult said it was time.

As a parent myself, Thanksgiving afternoon was set aside to go to the tree farm, at least for a few years. The children rotated in choosing the tree. Maybe we did too, I don't remember for sure as if I did have a choice I would have wanted a Scotch Pine~~You know, the kind where you get the last of the needles out of the shag carpet around Easter!

Now, when you go to a tree farm, these trees have been trimmed as they grew so you had a pretty straight and full tree before you took the saw and cut it down. But not always. More than one year we tied the tree to the wall to keep it straight.

I was sad that my grandparents did not have a real tree. They had an aluminum one which stood in the corner of their little living room. It was moved from in front of the picture window so there would be room for all of us to visit and have supper with them on Christmas Eve.

My other grandparents had a tree that was about a foot and a half tall. I wonder how long they had that tree. The branches were pulled forward to decorate, and pushed back for storage. Each branch end had a little red berry, many long since gone.

When Ryen and I bought the house and moved back, we had all white carpeting on the floors. When we went to do the tree, I thought we should do it in the kitchen for easier clean up. We are still laughing about having this tree beautifully decorated only to NOT be able to get it through the opening in the living room! Yes, we had to take it apart!

And it came to pass that Christmas would happen in 1998 in Fargo, North Dakota. I had tubs of stuff and Tom had boxes of stuff. I did not know, when I told the two of them to go through the directions there had been no tree in the house since his wife had died. I will tell you it was hard to breathe in the room as the two of them looked at each item. Suffering.

Tom and I where at Menard's looking around after Christmas early in our marriage. We came across these three trees mounted together on a common plate. It isn't very fat and it doesn't cover the Seth Thomas clock, either.

Although the decor is taken off, the tree stays on the main floor. It moves from the dining room to the living room at Christmas time and back to the dining room after the holidays. There are two decorations on it year around; two red birds, one for Bud and the other for his wife, Shilpa. At the base is a Chinese good luck cat, a gift to Tom from Ryen.

Next time, we will discuss lights! Do you have yours untangled yet?


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