The last time we had a live Christmas tree was when we lived in Kansas. That would have been in the early 1980’s. We bought a 5 bedroom house, not because we needed one, but because, with high interest rates, we were able to assume the existing mortgage at an attractive percent. Our neighbors informed us that the two previous owners had had seven boys and a combo of five boys and girls respectively. As such, the back yard looked like a nuclear site. Not a stick in it. So each year, we would buy a live tree with a balled root and plant it after the season.
When we were transferred to Louisville Kentucky, we decided to go the artificial route and bought our first one. It was quite large and required four strings of lights and every ornament we owned. It was a glorious sight until a string would go out and I would proceed to try and find the culprit, resulting in a love/hate relationship. I swear that it waited for me to come home from work to yank my chain. I think it was possessed.
Next, we happened upon a tabletop tree that, according to my wife, was so real looking that we had to buy it, and we did. To her, it was magical. To me, it was another string of lights. So now there were two.
After I retired, we stayed in Louisville for a couple of years, while we looked for a new home in Maine. As such, after what we thought would be our last Christmas there, we packed up everything to survive a move. Well, we were still there the following year. Since we didn’t want to unpack all our hard work from the year before, in our infinite wisdom, we, yup, you guessed it, bought another tree. A six foot pencil tree that didn’t take up much room and didn’t require a lot of ornaments, which we also had to buy, along with two more strings of lights.
Once we landed in Maine, we were going to get rid of the pencil tree, but, as luck would have it, our new home had a finished den in the basement that would easily accommodate a pencil tree, and we just happened to have one. So, now there were three.
After a few Christmas’s, we saw an ad for a seven foot tree, 66 inches around at the bottom. What caught my wife’s eye was that it had pine cones and red berries and snow on the ends of the branches. What caught my eye was, IT WAS PRELIT!!! So off we went and brought one home, after we had our usual argument over colored or white lights. I like colored. We got white. I’ll have to admit, it was beautiful and, it afforded me the opportunity to eliminate tree number one.
As time evolved, we decided that the table top tree was expendable. To me that meant one more tree down. To my wife, it meant replacing it with a little three foot tree. I didn’t argue to hard. It was prelit. And, after a lot of lobbying, we did finally agree that maybe we could further reduce our forest and give away the pencil tree.
That big beautiful tree we bought lasted about three years before we started to have problems with the branches and with the lights. I was changing a lot of bulbs. So it was no surprise when my wife showed me a picture of a new tree, this time with glitter on the branch tips and little twigs tucked in here and there. Again, it was beautiful in the picture and, to seal the deal, it was a new, easy to assemble design. All the stars aligned, and we bought it. Last year, while rocked back in my recliner, admiring our tree, I watched one section of lights suddenly become very bright and within seconds, burn out, leaving this twelve inch ring of darkness around the middle of the tree. I knew instinctively that this was an omen. It meant that there was a new tree in my future.
So, why am I telling you about this now, in October. Well, it’s because my wife starts thinking about Christmas in August. She has already done all her shopping for me and is now on to bigger and better things. I can see it happening. In the evening, while enjoying the TV, I will glance over and see “the look”. She is not watching the show, but instead slowing reviewing the room. And I know, it is just a matter of time before she says “you know, I think we should put the tree in front of the doors to the deck this year”, and it is game on.
Last week, we found and bought our new tree on the net and it was delivered three days ago. But as I was about to strike it from my to do list, we set it up to inspect it and reached a mutual conclusion. We hated it. It had to go back. So I repacked it while we hunted for, and found, another tree. Now all I have to do is run around the neighborhood with a tree on my back trying to flag down the UPS guy, before the Fed Ex guy shows up with what, tree number 16 or so?
So, there you have it. The great tree caper. No telling what is in store when we get to the Christmas decorations stage. I have been married long enough to know instinctively that this is not over. We will either not have enough of something, or too much of the wrong thing, or none of exactly what we need. But still, I can hardly wait to welcome our new tree to the family. We are going to love it. At least I know I am. I’m not doing this again. At least not this year. Kind of ironic that I live in the Pine Tree State, isn’t it??