Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Trees

Southern California is a weird land.  Today we opted out of our usual Home Depot Christmas tree shopping to go instead to a family-owned local farm.  I've experienced the pumpkin patch against the backdrop of banana palms and desert mountains, but never the Christmas tree farm against office parks and the freeway...  Combine that with weather climbing toward 80 and parking-lot sun, and an east coast girl has to work to feel Christmas.  Silas was finally stripped down to a bare chest and rolled up sweat pants.

Historically, Ben and I have some differences in how we revere the magical process of shopping for a Christmas tree (hence the years of Home Depot trees...).  I have memories of racing around Christmas tree lots in the dark cold with my brothers under strings of white lights.  Ben today was ready to buy the first cheapest tree he saw.  He, as my parents would say, woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

We also tend to have a slight difference of opinion every year about how one ought to transport the Christmas tree home.  Does one tie it to the roof or simply reach out of the driver side window and hold onto the trunk with one hand while one drives?  This farm included a freeway drive -- would we possibly have this discussion here?  I looked over at Ben who still looked like a flat-mouthed muppet with frowning eyebrows.  I was pretty sure we would.

Silas raced into the dense trees, and Eden kept congratulating me for following her voice even though she walked behind me.  Once Silas got the hang of reading the tickets wired to branches, he'd yell for us to come see this tree or that.  At one of those moments, I tripped for the umpteenth time on a little stump (I wore tall clogs) and then rocketed forward, as if I'd just been launched, into the arms of a living tree that immediately dropped me onto the dirt.  Apparently, Ben saw me go but didn't hurry, and I sat there for a long time laughing while Silas and Eden stood over me watching without cracking a smile.

Finally we decided on a tree -- the one I fell at the foot of -- and pulled up our car.  Lo and behold, a man emerged carrying a bucket of rope and without question strapped the bushy tree to our roof!  I don't think that added to Ben's pleasure, nor did the $5 tip we gave that angel-man.  Now we're home with the tree in the living room.  All of our lights are broken -- how does that happen in a silent garage during the year? -- and boxes of decorations are half unpacked.  Eden keeps creeping into boxes, secretly unwrapping ornaments and then dangling them in front of our faces while I tell her again to put whatever it is back til we're ready.  Maybe by tonight.

1 comment:

m* said...

Oh, an age-o;d story... after a failed attempt to agree on the right tree, I took your father home and went out again without him, to find a good tree- one that was symmetrical, proportioned to the living room, and one with a little wow-factor, or at least a little ahhhh factor. The tree and house are decorated by me, so I decided I am the one who should pick the tree. Children are generally agreeable to any beautiful tree. Husbands, I find, aren't always.