Friday, December 21, 2012
Oh Cranky Tree, Oh Cranky Tree
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
When I was a young man, and the children of the house demanded a tree, getting the tree was a tradition and a production. In the earliest years, we bought a cut tree from the mall parking lot. Size was of utmost importance, a seven foot tree was the goal. The branches had to be of perfect length and shape, and there must not be any bare spots. Finding this perfect tree often took well over an hour.
Once chosen, it was another production putting the tree up. It seems it went in the same room every year, but only after trying it out in several other rooms first. Getting the tree to stand perfectly straight was near impossible as any bend in the trunk would throw it off straight from at least one view point.
Finally after decorating the tree it’s beauty could be enjoyed…until the needles began their inevitable decent to the floor as no matter how much it was watered, even with the fresh cut to the bottom and a daily dose of aspirin the tree was nearly bare of needles by Three Kings Day when decorations come down.
One year my wife had the brilliant idea of using a live tree. A local tree farm would sell live trees for the price of a cut tree, as long as you dug it out yourself.
Shovel in hand we went off to the farm, found a suitable tree and commenced to dig it out, saving the roots in a large ball wrapped in burlap. Do you know how much a balled live tree weighs? I’m going to guess about 175 pounds and it is all distributed in one place. Getting that tree to the car, then out and in the house, and finally after trying the usual rooms settling in the same place the tree always went, my back was shot.
The advantage of the live tree was it would not lose its needles and after Three Kings Day we would plant it in the back yard where it would grow and fill in a naked spot.
Turns out that to keep a tree alive over the winter you need to dig a large hole in the place you intend to eventually plant it. If you do not dig that hole before the ground freezes your tree will not survive the winter.
I did not dig a hole in the back before the ground froze.
Our live tree did not make it to spring.
Every time I bend over and my back sends an electric shock down my leg I think about that friggin tree.
We now have an artificial tree. It is in a box in the basement. It is a pain in the ass to put together. It is a pain in the ass to take it down and put it back in the box. This year it is staying in the box.
My son has a beautiful tree.