Catching up with the rest of the Christian world, we finally got our tree yesterday. It stands now on my porch, shedding snow and needles. As an adventure, the tree-getting was ridiculous and unplanned, painful and embarrassing, ultimately hilarious. It didn't take long. And it didn't cost any money. Kind of like life when you think about it.
The Optimists' lot has always had the cheapest Christmas trees in Cobourg (and of course the happiest attendants. Hey, that one looks great! they say. Good choice!) But when we got there yesterday the lot looked awfully bleak. We skidded towards the temporary fenced off area, and stopped. No Optimist van, no smiling folks in parkas. I thought we were too late, and would have to drive all the way across town to the Canadian Tire lot, and then I noticed it leaning against the sagging plastic fence all by itself ... a tree. The last one. It looks lonely, said Sam.
It looks terrible, said Thea.
I parked. (No! said Thea) and we all piled out.
The twins were both right. The tree did in fact look lonely, and terrible. (I suppose the two conditions go together.) Half of one side was missing, and much of the mid-section. Imagine a big sickly brother to the Charlie Brown tree. Like that. The hand-written sign on the fence post said: FREE TO A GOOD HOME.
We agreed (except for Thea) to take it. The remaining issue was practical: how to transport it? With no attendant to bundle up the tree and tie it to the roof of the car, we were left to our own devices. And those devices were pretty, um, basic. Tree on roof of car -- check. Rear windows open -- check. Boys in back seat leaning out -- check. Except that they couldn't reach, and we had to spin the tree sideways so that it stretched sideways across the car roof, overhanging the sides and filling the car with snow (Oh my Gaawd! said Thea).
Hang on! I shouted, and away we went. Thea was sure we'd never make it, but I took my tone from the tree lot itself. This was an Optimists' Christmas tree and so I was, well, optimistic. (Can you imagine buying a tree from the Pessimists' lot? Nope, don't take that one. No, not that one either. In fact, all these trees are pretty lousy.)
We cruised down main streets and side streets, whooping and hooting and noting many horrified and puzzled glances from passers by. The inside of the car is still filled with snow. (Oh my Gaawd!) Imo, seated in the back between the two boys, wore a look of quiet and intense delight all the way home.
And today we decorate.