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!!!