Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hunting only for a Christmas tree today

     The hunting season didn't go quite as planned this fall, meaning that I was willing, but the deer didn't cooperate.  Today, with the family members who still live at home, we'll go out hunting for a Christmas tree.  Rather than buy one pre-cut, our family normally heads out to an area tree farm to cut our own.  Sometimes we have fun stomping through the snow, looking for just the right tree, the search suspended now and then so we can engage in a snowball fight or because we have to retreive our dog, who obviously embarassed by us, tries to go home with another family and their tree.  On other occasions we get into a lively debate over which tree to cut.
     "That is a nice tree, Dawn, I agree, but you're misjudging its size.  They don't seem as big out here.  It must be 20 feet tall.  It would never fit in our house."
     "It's better than the one you like," she'll counter, "with the twisted trunk and not much to speak of on the back side."
     "Not much to speak of on the back side?  Look who's talking."
     No, you're right, I might think that, but I wouldn't dare say it.  I have learned a few things in 29 years of marriage.  Instead, I usually say something such as, "Well, let's look at a few others.  We've got to keep moving anyway, because we're all freezing out here."
     After we choose our tree and bring it home, I'm always reminded of when the kids were small.  One year in particular, I had brought two deer in through the back door where I butchered them myself to save some money.  Later, I dragged our Christmas tree in through the same door.  As usual, it was bigger than we had estimated when we were outdoors picking it out.  So I had to saw a few inches off the trunk.  As I did this, my son Brian, then about three years old, just watched, very concerned.
     Finally he said, "Why are you cutting it up like that, Dad?  So we can eat it?"
     Now the kids are old enough that I let them do most of the cutting and dragging.  Still, the best part of the holidays for me remains remembering those years past while trying to create happy moments for the kids to remember years from now.  Merry Christmas.

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