Thursday, November 29, 2007

Missing the Hunt

Today the trees appeared on the sidewalks. Christmas trees that is. When I want to get mine I just go down to the main drag and pick one out. The vendor stuffs it into the tree wrapper and quick as a wink I'm on the way home dragging it behind me. That's not how it used to be.

When I was 8 years old I went with my sister, my cousin Wendy and her friend Barbara to the Berkshires to pick out a Christmas tree. We were also going to get one for Barbara's family. The trip up was uneventful except for a stop at a candy store that seemed to be an adjunct of Santa's workshop. We got to the tree farm and picked out two nice trees. It took us quite a while to actually chop them down but in the end we managed it. We tied one up onto the roof and stuffed the other one top first into the hatchback. There wasn't much room in the back so my sister sat up front with Wendy and Barb. Feeling pretty good, we got on the road. After a few miles Wendy was feeling like there might be something wrong with the car. She had the pedal to the floor and yet we couldn't get above 50. We pulled the car over and got out in order to stare at the car for a while. As we stared at it, it came into focus, like one of those trick drawings. We had tied the tree on with the bottom towards the front of the car. We were trying to drive with a big green parachute on the roof creating serious drag. We laughed for a long time and then turned the tree around and got back to the highway. After about an hour I began to lose feeling in my toes. The heat was not getting to me past the enormous tree that was sharing the back seat with me. I rebelled and demanded a seat up front. So there we were, Wendy driving, Barb in the passenger seat, my sister on her lap and me on my sister's. But at least we were warm. Now, having this many people in the front seat was not legal, even then, long before seat belt laws. So Wendy says to me: "If you see a cop, duck down and while you're there, hide those beer cans." Ah, I miss those days, stalking the wild Christmas tree and bringing it home, triumphantly.

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