Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Advent Calendar December 1 Christmas Treeing
Christmas treeing was always an adventure when I was growing up. My dad loved Christmas and was as excited as any kid when it came to getting the Christmas tree. We lived on a large farm in the Klamath Basin of southern Oregon, which is surrounded by mountains, so cutting down live trees was the norm for that area. Daddy liked to have the tree up early, so some time after Thanksgiving he would gather up ax and saw, bundle us kids and mom into the car, and we would head to the mountains.
My favorite memories were of tramping through the snow while we looked at ever so many trees. Before we could really decided if it was the right tree, Daddy would shake the snow from each tree he was considering. We kids liked to get as close to the tree as possible so the snow would tumble down and around us. We had snow in our hair, down the back of our necks, and snow glistening from our eyelashes. We would drop, laughingly, to the snow and make snow angeles. My younger sister Sue and I would usually pull the sled with our two younger brothers. If the snow was too deep, or too soft, the boys would have to stay near the car with mother, while Sue and I trudged through the snow in Daddy's footprints.
Daddy, my sister and I favored very large trees. Mother, ever the practical one, wanted one that we could get into the house without chopping the tree down by several feet. “O, Harold, we can't even get that tree in the house,” my mother would say as Daddy was getting ready chop down a really good looking tree.
So then the hunt would go on. Trees would be viewed from all angles and rejected; the top was lopsided or sparse; had bad side; too small; too sprangly, or just didn't look right. Quite often Daddy went back and cut down that first tree he had picked out --- the one that was too big. Once the tree was cut, we dragged it back to the car. We never cut a tree that was of a size that my father could just carry over his shoulder. As he tied the tree to the top of the car, mother would be dispensing hot chocolate from a thermos, and sometimes cookies or sandwiches. We peeled off the wet hats, mittens, coats and scarves. Then into the warm car, with more hot chocolate and snacks.
On the way home, there would be much laughter as oncoming cars would point at our tree covered car. Tramping through the snow, a BIG TREE, hot chocolate, and laughter were the hallmarks of a successful Christmas treeing adventure of my childhood.