Oh Giant Christmas Tree, Oh Giant Christmas Tree…

Posted on December 3, 2012


The wife and I put up a Christmas tree this weekend, it’s our first ‘real’ tree.

The past few years we’ve set up a small tabletop tree, but this year we, and by ‘we’ I mean my wife Amy, decided we needed a full-size, real-down-to-the-bark-and-pine-needles, genuine Christmas tree.

So this past Saturday we set forth with visions of sugar plums etc, etc, to find the tree of our dreams.

Amy researched options for local Christmas trees and learned there are several lovely little Christmas tree farms in northeast Louisiana.

What a great adventure we thought! We’ll walk among the trees at the quaint little Christmas tree farm, inhaling the delicious piney odors, communing with nature and all that.

Unfortunately, by the time we were finally ready to leave – a trek to the tree farm seemed a bit much.

So we opted for the less than natural but whole lot quicker solution.

We bought a fresh cut tree from a nice young fellow in a parking lot in a strip mall.

Back at the ranch I hauled the tree in and together the wife and I set it up in a corner of our living room.

Charlie Brown is SO Jealous!

Charlie Brown is SO Jealous!

As my 43nd Christmas approaches one particular Xmas tree stands out.

It was the late 1970’s and my mother had the bright idea to save some extra $ by cutting our tree.

We lived in a rural area, so on paper this made sense

The northeast section of Ouachita parish is covered in trees today and there were even more 35 years ago when our amateur logging crew set out to claim a Christmas tree from the forest primeval.

My mother’s friend Linda tagged along with us and can I just tell you – Linda was a very large woman. Very large.

So, picture two women (one of them obese) and three little boys ages 9, 7 and 6 crammed into a 1978 Ford Mustang.

This overloaded compact from the Carter administration carried us down a dirt trail that ran parallel to a set of railroad tracks that in turn fronted Wham Break, a 5,500 acre, man-made reservoir a few miles from our house.

The drive was as scary as anything I’d experienced in my 9 years on planet Earth.

My brothers and I shrieked in equal parts terror and delight as the tiny car dropped into ruts (of what I suppose could technically be called a road, but was actually a deer trail and railroad right of way) so deep they seemed to swallow the tiny Ford as we bumped along searching for that perfect Yule tree, a pretty cone of piney goodness to decorate and cheer our home and hearth.

After an hour of stumbling through the woods we ditched our tree dreams and sugar plums as the only thing dancing on our heads were millions of hungry December mosquitoes.

We wound up chopping the top off a juvenile pine tree, using our combined weight to bend the trunk double, upper branches scraping the ground as mom and Linda took turns with a borrowed hatchet.

I’d surrender one of my lesser appendages for just one brief glimpse of my family as we looked that day in the late 1970’s; two women and three rambunctious boys packed into a cherry-red, itty-bitty, battered Ford Mustang with a pine tree tied to the roof.

Somehow we made it back home alive and in one piece bearing the top of a juvenile pine tree that seemed like a shrub in the woods and magically transformed into a giant Sequoia by the time we made it home.

Our Christmas tree looked ridiculous, the circumference took up half the living room and the thin branches delighted in scraping off your skin if you passed by too close. 

I swear the tree was taking vengeance because we’d kidnapped it from the forest.

It was big and ugly, kinda sad and mean all at the same time, sorta like Wilfred Brimley.

The memories of that long-ago Christmas tree are still enough to make my brothers and mother smile today.

We’ll laugh as we remember the Mustang dipping into the ruts of the road, it seemed like we were going to tip over at least a dozen times.

We’ll grin and recall the way that Christmas tree seemed to loom over the living room, the tall and gaunt piney sentinel who stood watch over our presents that Christmas.

Looking back on it, I think it may have been the best Christmas tree ever.




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