Sometimes my stories cannot be told in just one Sunday. Occasionally, the stories could press into the next week. This story is one of those stories.
Last week I wrote about our Thanksgiving family traditions. Last weekend, in carrying on with tradition, despite the weather we went into the mountains to cut down our Christmas tree. I'm telling the story today because it was a little different this year.
In past years, we have used a commercial tree-cutting area in the mountains. This area has used the public to "thin their trees around their property for profit and fire prevention. We noticed last year that the trees were getting to be "thinned out".
This year I suggested to Elaine that she find another area to cut Christmas trees. Elaine was happy to look for another area. Really happy!
A few years ago, I bought Elaine this miniature computer thing that enabled her to read her favorite books. I can't say when it happened but somehow that little computer thing got replaced by this thing called a "tablet". Not the kind of tablets I had when I was a child, with the drawing of the Indian Chief and the paper inside that felt "fuzzy". Elaine's "tablet" was another computer thing. She loves that tablet.
Here's where Elaine's tablet becomes important to the story. When I asked Elaine to find another tree-cutting area, Elaine said "I better check my tablet." That tablet knows everything.
It wasn't long and with her tablet, Elaine found three tree-cutting areas reasonably close to the restaurant which we frequent when the tree is cut. (Part of the tradition) These areas were controlled by the United States Forest Service. I say controlled because you and I own those trees, but don't try to cut them without a permit. That might upset one of us.
Interestingly enough, the permits were cheaper than the trees at the commercial lot. That tablet thing was really handy.
Elaine and I informed both batches of kids of our new plans. Both batches were agreeable and said they would like to go. Elaine informed the kids where they could get a map to one of the areas and Elaine and I would meet them there.
Driving to the area, I got pretty excited. We were passing many vehicles with good-looking Christmas trees tied to the roofs of SUV's. It was nice to see families with their own Christmas tree traditions
Elaine and I arrived at our destination. The tree-cutting area was covered with snow. I found there to be about twenty cars in the designated parking area. I want it to be clear, I said cars. Newer cars. I didn't feel out of place at first, mostly because I don't care. Elaine and I drove into that parking area in our twenty-two-year-old flatbed pickup truck and parked it where it fit.
It didn't take long for the forest ranger to ask me to move my truck. I knew it was the forest ranger because he looked like the only one there with John Lennon glasses, a man bun, and a badge. He felt the cars could not get around my truck and suggested I move to a better spot. I agreed to move but I was thinking, "IF they cannot get their cars around me, get out and I will drive it for you."
Waiting to meet our kids, I had time to observe the other tree cutters. The men were decked out in three hundred-dollar hiking boots, sixty-dollar flannel shirts, and color-coordinated vests, all purchased the day before from Trout Pro Shops. The men hadn't shaved in two days. The women had their own hiking boots, cute little earbands, and nice gloves, while pulling two toddlers in a snow sled. I told you I observe things. I took a different route, I was wearing forty-nine dollar rubber boots, a coat given to me by a previous employer, and jeans. I hadn't shaved in at least a year, but who's counting?
My kids were appropriately dressed for the snow. Boy Twin was wearing stylish canvas tennis shoes, but "Hey, I have on wool socks." Girl Twin and Ivy had on weather-related farm gear. Elaine always dresses for the cold. She and that tablet have never found a sweater she couldn't use.
Families were armed with recently bought bow saws to cut down their trees. Me? Chainsaw and a twenty-one-year-old Boy Twin to carry the tree.
I spotted a beautiful tree, at least it was beautiful towards the top of the tree. The tree was at least twenty feet tall. the bottom eight feet of the tree had nothing but dead branches. The tree met the criteria set forth by the Forest Service. I convinced the family we could use the top of the tree and use the bottom for firewood.
Boy Twin and I cranked up the chainsaw and felled the tree. Boy Twin threw the tree on his shoulders using the tennis shoes for traction and carried the tree to the truck. Take that, stubble-faced flannel boys!
Girl Twin and Ivy continued a quest to find another tree for Ivy's apartment. It didn't take long. Boy Twin gave them the chainsaw and helped load Ivy's tree.
With the trees loaded, we were at the restaurant by mid-afternoon. The restaurant was packed. It seems others have the same traditions as our family.
Ivy cut a tree that she felt was too big for her apartment. She gave it to Elaine and I and we put it up in our house. We are not quite sure about our tree. It was a little bigger in real life than what it appeared. We have a twelve-foot tree and an eight-foot ceiling, at least where we typically put our tree. So who knows, it won't be wasted.
I hope you guys get to carry on your traditions, one of which is to buy yarn. Love ya, God Bless.
Our crazy lives!