by Bob Niles
"If you're not doing anything! (and here, if I'm sitting in my underwear watching TV, I'm doing something) We had better do something about that 8 foot tree in the den, Honey!" My wife says as she heads out the door to work.
Now, focusing my superior intellect in what was just stated I surmise, that the 8 foot tree, is ole tannenbaum , and when she says we, she means me.
The very same tree that in years past we have gone to three different places for, before the right one was found. The tree we decorated, illuminated, irrigated and allocated so much time on, and for, has now become a burden, an unwanted eyesore, taking up room in what was once its place of honor. We...Me....I, have to get it out of the house! This visual stench, of what was once Christmas, evergreen splendor.
As a child, the tree was taken down every New Years Day. My parents, and here I mean my Mom, would de-decorate the tree, bobble by bobble. Painstakingly removing the tinsel, one by one, saving each piece for the next Christmas Tree. 'Waste not want not' She'd say, carefully placing each bright, limp, slender ribbon of silver over a cardboard card, which was then slid into its festive holiday box. My older brother told me that before I was born they would just have grandpa sneeze on the tree in place of tinsel. But, that it was proven to be unsatisfactory as soon as the Christmas lights on the tree began to heat up.
Once the tree was stripped of its holiday splendor, Dad would throw it in the trunk of the car, drive down the road and chuck it on the front lawn of the first neighbor that wasn't home. Problem solved! TA-DA
My problem at hand, I asked my neighbor with the pickup truck (thinking he might offer to take my unwanted prickly fire hazard) what he did with ole tannenbaum. As he cracked a beer he informed me his tree stayed up till Fathers Day. "Yup" Glug glug glug, "Leave er there till all the needles is gone. Then"...glug glug glug belch "Take er out back and save it for a fence post."
It was then I noticed that what he said was true. What remained of the few rotten four by four fenced posts, Christmas Tree stubs, in all their unholy splendor had intermingled their somewhat vertical lines to give a suggestion of horizontalness to its ten inch unpainted cedar slats.
"Make a day of it "Cranch! As he crushes the can, then tosses it into the back of the pickup. "Then if the weathers nice, every year the kids shave Dads back. Tradition! Get ready for the Summer. Don't want to gross people out now, do we?"
He then went on to talk of trucks that were monsters that were coming to town and something about other things as I stared at his fence posts wondering why I haven't noticed this earlier. I came to when something about crushing trucks.....no, trees, down near Steveston somewhere, "Thats what a lot of people do with their holiday fence posts." So, Steveston it is.
Now I thought I'd surprise the wife this year and have it done before she gets home. Before she climbs up on her box and announces "The holidays are over!" "You'd better get use to it!" "And don't you dare prove my mother right!" speech.
First, it's off with the lights that gave such a festive, warm glow to the room.
Then, the handed down bobbles of spun glass I lovingly remember as a kid. The ornaments the kids made so long ago in school are next. Memory after memory carefully placed in cardboard boxes that were never suppose to last this long. The once glorious tree, decked out in more bling than an MTV rapper, now stands naked as the day it pushed its slender stalk, through the rich dark soil of its mountain home. It's now garbage!
I throw the tree on the roof of the car. Tie it down with string that might not make it there without dissolving. All this then held together with knots placed here and there of equal inadequacy. "Who cares! " The tree fell off the car and rolled into someone's front yard. "OOOOOH!" Bit of the old man in me.
Well doggone it! The tree made it all the way there, to the 'How Much Wood Would A Woodchip Chip If A Woodchip Could Chip Christmas Tree Holiday Extravaganza'. Okay the title's made up, but it's fun to say.
I give the guy ten bucks, adding on to the ever growing price of a cut tree. He takes the tree and as fast as you can say Kris Kringle 'Brammmmp Ching Tinnngle' It's gone!
Wire, plastic and tiny bits of wood fly out the back end of the Log-O-Matic 3000 like they've been shot from a cannon
Surprise and anger alternate across both our faces. He starts off by yelling "How can you be so stupid!" And here when he says 'You' he means 'We'.Cause 'We', have just chipped to death one $300, 8ft. Blue Mountain Fir from Costco into shrapnel . "Can't you tell the difference between real and fake!"
"No 'We' can't," I counter, as I try to blend back into the crowd of curious onlookers that have come to see just what caused that noise.
"Did we .....FIND TIME......to take the tree down?" the front door says before my wife walks around it.
"Oh it's down alright honey." And when I say honey, I'm referring to a woman who is going to be a self made widow come next December when the truth be known about ole tannenbaum.
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