Christmas seems like it's coming soon this year. As I type this post, we haven't even played the Egg Bowl, and we've got our Christmas tree up. But since Thanksgiving came so blame early, well, can't get onto us. We waited until we got to the turkey before we put up our tree. And this year, we went out and hunted one down.
Marianna had told me she'd never cut down her own tree. Her grandpa would always bring one to Raleigh from up in the North Carolina mountains, where they had a house. Would show up with a box in the pickup, sapping and smelling like the Blue Ridge.
I'd been once or twice in North Alabama with my dad and grandparents, but I don't remember it too well. I just remember those rolling hills and trees everywhere. I bet I'd gone to one that was 100 acres or more. Just trees everywhere.
But up here, space and time come at more of a premium, so we had to jump on it if we were gonna. Mike told me of a place up near his house on the North Shore. A place called Beverly Tree Farm. They are small and are only open 6 days or until the trees are all gone. Which usually only takes about four. So, we couldn't be picky and wait for snow if we wanted to cut one down. We had to brave the, ahem, chill (55°) and just deal with a Christmas tree search that felt closer to Louisiana than to Montreal. We set off. Mike, Michelle, Micah, Marianna. The four Ms of Christmas.
You walk about, eyeing up the competition. Claim a tree with your tag, then walk around and see if you can find one prettier. Take your tag off your first tree. Move to another. See your old tree claimed. Regret. Dream. Start again. On a small farm, it ain't that tough. 'Cause you can just about see all the options. So you find another. Stake claim. Get to cutting.
With a good saw, it doesn't take but about four minutes to make it through the trunk. Timber! Down. Remove the bottom braches for the tree stand and the top for the star. Drag it to the road. Let the men with the wagon pick it up. You could drag it to the car. But for what you pay for a cut-your-own tree up here, you're just fine to let them take it.
Then you tie it up. We can't tie it down for you, sir, as it is a liability. Hoping with the world's greatest hope that your tree will make it the 27 miles back to Boston. You are going to drive, slowly, on back roads, with the sun setting in front of you and Christmas music on the radio as you look forward to the birthday of a Savior.