Friday, December 4, 2015

When What to My Wandering Eyes

There was a time in history when a person could go out into a field where pine trees grew wild. They would cut one to bring it into their homes. It wasn’t quite stealing, but close. The trees were always fresher and cheaper than going to a lot to buy one. A friend was doing just that, accompanied by his wife to get an evergreen tree. Once he and his axe were clear of the car, she drove away, planning to return later to collect him and the newly acquired tree. So that the friend would recognize it was his wife, she was planning to flash the headlights of the car, then he would hurry back to the road with his prize and quickly load it into the car. The trunks of cars were larger back then and unless the tree was huge, it would fit in the car’s trunk with only the tip of the pine peeking out from a tied down lid. If the limbs were too large, the tree could be tied to the car’s sturdy steel roof for the short transport back home.
            It was cold that winter’s day and the man was warmly dressed in his red and black Woolrich pants, coat, and hat. Thick Woolrich clothing was the accepted winter and hunting clothing of that time period. Having cut the tree, he squatted on a bank above the road to watch for the return of his wife. When the headlights of an oncoming car flashed, he hopped down onto the roadway only to find that it wasn't his wife. The oncoming car had rolled over a bump in the road and the headlights only appeared to flash. He told me that the surprise on the driver's face was stupendous when he suddenly leaped into the road. Can you imagine driving along and seeing a man clad from head to foot in red at Christmastime, carrying an evergreen tree hop into view?
          When my wife, Cindy and I started our own home and our own tradition of Christmas and trees, one thing she insisted on was that the star topper had to touch the ceiling of our mobile home. Our mobile home had a vaulted roof in the living room in front of the windows. One of the live trees I brought home had a full bottom. It did reach the eight foot ceiling. The problem with the tree occurred because the bottom limbs filled more than half of the width of the trailer. All season long, while the tree was up, we had to skirt those limbs to move through the mobile home, but the star brushed the ceiling.
It was the last live tree that we had. Up until that point, my uncle Ted and I went together to get the tree for Grandma Miner and one for Cindy and me. When he died, Christmas wasn’t the same and I had no desire to drive to the grove of pines and cut a tree. That was the year we bought an artificial


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