The Hunt for the Perfect Christmas Tree...

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It's that time of year again: snow is falling, the Thanksgiving bird is on its way to becoming soup, and cars pass you by, topped by the perfect Christmas tree, trussed up tighter than that turkey you had last week. The hunt has begun.

My wife and I will be getting a tree for the farmhouse, here in Chesterville, this year. We moved in last year in mid-December, and things were too hectic with the unpacking to think about a Christmas tree, so this will be our first since moving to Maine.  Come to think of it, this will be the first Christmas tree we'll have had in many years together.  Small apartments in Boston with (then) four cats isn't very Christmas-tree-friendly...


Of course, in the Adirondacks, hunting down our Christmas tree on the family farm when we were young became a year-long event.  My brother and I would note the best-looking trees all spring and summer when we went to gather in the cows that got into our woodlot or when we brought them in for milking in the evenings from the pastures.  There was always one that we were sure would do for a really nice-looking tree, but come winter, with snow-white fields as a backdrop, we'd always find fault with those trees that looked so good surrounded by the greenery of summer.


So, off we'd go hoping to find something better at the last minute. We always did, but sometimes it could be a challenge. For the brothers that is.  We'd slog on through snow drifts, dusk coming on, debating the merits of the newest tree. It was too tall, or not tall enough, or it tilted to one side or had too many bare branches down low.  Being the youngest, I'd be willing to take the last one we'd found as a 'possibility', but my brother was sure there was a better one on the next knoll.  So, off we'd go searching for one more tree...


Somehow, every year, we'd finally pick one, drag it back to the house and stand it up against the porch while we wrestled the old tree stand on the trunk.  I'm sure you remember the old metal stands, the ones with the spike in the bottom you'd hammer into the base of the trunk and then tighten the bolts (like something Frankenstein's monster would sport), hoping the tree would stand up straight.


But it never would, so we'd wrestle with the tree some more and spin it around to hide the bare spot toward the back, against the wall. There was always a bare spot... Then we'd tie it up to the wall for good measure to make sure it wouldn't fall over.


Then, a day or two before Christmas, we'd haul out the boxes of decorations -- some from the late 1800s (glass birds that clip to the tree limb), some from the 1950s (remember the 'bubble lights' and the big, round painted bulbs?), some the more modern strings of small blinking lights.  Up would go the strands of garland, and handfuls of tinsel would be tossed on the limbs as a last affect. That tree we looked all year for always looked grand to us when we were done.


So, this year, I think it's time to have our own tree again in this farm house and start a few of our own traditions.  We'll search the tree lots for the best one we can find, strap it on to our own car and decorate it with all of our old ornaments.  Then we'll see how soon the two youngest cats will race to the top of the tree and knock it over.  Hmmm... where'd I put that ball of twine?  Time to tie up the tree to the wall...

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This page contains a single entry by JeffAdminist published on July 8, 2009 5:34 PM.

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