O, CHRISTMAS TREE, O, CHRISTMAS TREE, how lovely are thy branches (at least I've got my fingers crossed, hoping so). When I said to my yard man this morning, "We've got to go get ourselves a Christmas tree TODAY, if we're going to get one!" he got a pained look on his face. He's always been a teeny bit of a Scrooge when it comes to driving out into the far countryside and hand-hewing a tree (though I'm supposing the story would be different if he got to hitch up his big ol' horses to go fetch the tree!)
It was mid-afternoon by the time we climbed into his truck and headed north to the tree farm we visited last year. It's a long drive, and we passed a 'Closed for the Season' sign at another tree farm along the way. It didn't bode well, but I held out hope that the widow who'd previously let us carry away one of her half-orphaned trees would extend the same privilege again this year.
When we finally reached the spot, after a nervous drive through areas where men crept around with guns and visions of venison on their dinner plates, I discovered my vision of finding a tree from this particular tree farm was bound for failure: No one answered the door to say, "Sure, help yourself!"
Well, now we had a problem. My yard man was all for high-tailing it to the nearest cut-tree retail outlet, where the trees, I maintained, had all been sitting, shipped and waiting, for at least a week. No lovely tromp through a quiet stand of evergreens. No pungent scent of a tree just released from its moorings.
"Oh, please," I implored, "can't we stop at Elizabeth Farms? They are one place we passed that didn't say 'closed'..."
"We don't have much time," the yard man grumbled. "And I think it's a big production there."
"A big production?" I asked. "What do you mean, do you have to sign a contract or something to buy a tree?!" (I was verging on grumbling myself, Reader Dear!)
"You'll see," my yard man said tersely, and soon after, we pulled into the long driveway that led to Elizabeth Tree Farm.
Great towering tannenbaums, the place was a virtual city! Traffic directors pointed us toward an overflow parking lot while all around us eager tree-shoppers streamed into and out of a hub of activity.
From the parking lot, we found our way to the main concourse.
"My goodness," I exclaimed to the yard man. I had to speak up to be heard, "This is the Walmart of Christmas tree farms!" I (secretly) wondered if I could find Christmas-tree happiness here.
(If you're wondering yourself, Reader Dear, come back and find out on the late-season day of tomorrow...)