Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree......

Some years ago I found myself stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico courtesy of the US Army. Christmas rolled around and I discovered that the Forest Service was allowing personal Christmas tree cutting in one particular area east of the city. Being a long time desert dweller I had never cut my own tree but had always purchased one pre-cut from a Christmas tree lot. These lots always sprang up like weeds around Thanksgiving. I decided it would be fun to cut my own tree. Accordingly I took axe and saw,jumped in my pick'em up truck and headed for the mountains. The area they were allowing cutting was some 20 or 30 miles east of Albuquerque on what is now I-40, and then off on a side road a few miles.

I got to the area alright and tromped up a hill to where the trees were. I looked at a number of trees before finding the perfect tree—nice shape, no sparse areas, big enough—just right! I cut it down and wrestled it down to the pickup and loaded it in the back. It took up the whole bed and then some. It was a great tree! Got back on the main highway and headed for home. A few miles down the road at 60+ miles an hour I looked in the rear view mirror and horror of horrors! The tree had flown out of the back of the truck and was bouncing along the highway all by itself. Fortunately no one ran into it. I went back, got it back in the truck and managed to get it back to my quarters without further incident.

Then the fun really started. As an officer I had a sort of duplex, plenty large enough, sort of like a small house.I unloaded the tree and tried to get it inside. The bloody thing was huge! There was no way it was going through the door. I tried surgery, top and bottom, to no avail. I then discovered a number of limbs had broken in the fall on the highway. As I remember I scrapped it and visited a local Christmas tree lot.

Several years later Christmas and New Years were over and it was time to take down our Christmas tree lot purchased “fresh” tree. We had a burning pit on our ranch and I took the tree out and placed it in the pit. I then touched one match to a small branch. The tree seemed to explode in flame, top to bottom. I've never seen anything quite like it.The tree had been cut in Oregon sometime in October or November, been on a lot, been in our house and it was now early January. It still gives me a chill to think we had that torch standing in our living room. From that day to this our tree comes in a box, which we assemble and decorate. And lovely it is.

1 comment:

  1. Boxed trees are the best.

    I like your story and I'm going to call my Toyota Tacoma a pick'em up truck from now on.