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Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Family Tradition

Back when the kids were small, it was "Dads" job to load up the bundled toddlers and go find a tree to trim for our front room.  Now this was pretty easy when the kids were just toddlers and would think ANY tree I got was "perfect". 
 
Now it's pretty simple for me to select a tree.  The first qualification was that it had to be where I could drive the pickup up to it, step out, cut the tree and drive home.  It didn't have to have "perfect branches" and couldn't stand over 5 feet tall.  Since it was already cut (and the small kids thought it was "perfect") the Warden couldn't turn it down.
 
But as time went along the "eye of the beholders" became a little more selective and the daughters take after their mother when it comes to "aesthetic beauty" and size.  They began to want one of the caliber that the White House would want!  This of course would take multiple negations during the selecting phase.  What had once been a 30 minute job now took most of a Saturday just to bring one home!
 
Those kids could spot a tree up to a mile from the nearest road!  I swear they had eagle eyes!  We would then have to trek out to examine the proposed tree, all the while me trying to explain that the distance made trees look a lot smaller.  Standing beside the towering tree, they would eventually agree it was too large and we would trek back.
 
Finally I spotted one right beside the road, 4 feet tall (maybe I could convince them it was 5) that I thought was perfect.  The sun was almost ready to set and I was desperate to find one and get home for supper.
 
"That's too small!" said daughter number one rather definitively.
 
"Isn't it suppose to be green?" asked daughter number two, being more sarcastic than for the gaining of knowledge.
 
"The bottom branches are even charred from the spring burns!" daughter number three pointed out.
 
I could instantly see that negations were going to be tough.  But being the resourceful person I am, I broke into the story of "The Littlest Christmas Tree".
 
I looked at the tree rather remorseful and started, "This poor little tree.  All it's ever wanted was to be selected some day to adorn someone's house on Christmas day.  Now deformed and not pretty, no one will ever pick it."
 
I glanced out of the corner of my eye to see the girls.  They were all looking at the tree, lower lips quivering.  I kept going.
 
"No doubt the little tree thought it would be able to some day have a star on top.  Bright lights would encircle it's branches and bring colored lights to someone's front room."
 
I heard a sniff, but I didn't look over thinking I might break the mood.
 
"It was hoping that some day it would be able to spread it's lower branches over presents that would bring laughter and joy to children."  I was almost in tears myself by this time.
 
Finally one of the daughters said, "It's good enough." and the other two nodded in agreement.  As quick as a flash, I grabbed the saw and put the fledgling tree in the pickup.  We arrived home, me smiling and the girls all teary eyed.
 
The story of "The Littlest Christmas Tree" was banned from ever being used again when the tree selection job came around.  As a matter of fact, Pappy has been banned from even telling his grandkids the story!!!
 
Dennis

4 comments:

Jenni said...

I always have felt sorry for those Charlie Brown Christmas trees. I bought some version of that littlest Christmas tree story at a garage sale a while back, but I couldn't read it to myself without tearing up, so I knew I sure wouldn't be able to read it aloud to any kids. Mine would just laugh anyway. They get that from their dad. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein always gets me too. I'm a sucker for underdogs and unsung heroes.

So, where you going after eastern red cedars? That's about the only thing I see growing wild around here that looks at all like a Christmas tree.

crabby old man said...

I went thru the same thing with My daughter & then with her 2 kids,
The best was we were together.I would enjoy doing it again, for they have out grown PaPa

The Ponderer said...

Having lived in the city of Tulsa all my life instead of going out to find one in the country we just went to a store and bought a fake one. It lasted 15 years.

It would still be a good tree but when we moved out here to the pond Debbie decided we needed something different. Since we were out here in the country we did not go to the store. We ordered it from QVC.

Bet this story brought another tear to Jenni's eye.

In_spired said...

Wonderful post, Cowboy!

Family traditions have become a rarity in our society....hang on to it!