Every year our friend Russell and his wife Carmen invite their friends and family to gather at their house and cut Christmas trees on their property. Russ puts hay bales on his wagon for most of us to ride on out to the power line. I must admit that this ride borders on scary for me – open wagon, crowds of people, rutted, steep road. As Carmen told one of her daughters who was afraid of falling off (or tipping over), “It’s all part of the experience.”
Once out on the power lines everyone fans out to find that perfect tree. We all have something in mind, the trees we cut seem just right until we get them to the car and realize they might be a little bigger than we thought. We cut extras for people not there.
This was Chester’s second tree outing. He was in heaven. Although he stays around Bill he is especially fond of the kids. This seems to be his job, to help any child overcome any budding fear of dogs. One of the gentlest animals I’ve ever known.
Once everyone has their tree it’s time to bring them back to the trailer. This is where I think that you should pick the first tree that strikes your fancy otherwise you have to carry it a long, uphill way to get it loaded for the return trip. Many hands make light work they say so the long walk wasn’t too bad.
The tractor and trailer make their way back to the farm and we all walk behind it. This is my favorite part of the day. Russell’s farm is on the top of a hill that allows you to see some beautiful views. In the mowin’ you feel like you are on top of the world.
Truth be told my favorite part of the day is watching Russell. He looks forward to this event probably more than any other. He is surrounded by all of this favorite people. His children, grandchildren, friends and family – he beams. As we sat around the kitchen table drinking hot chocolate and eating the soups and chili we caught up on our lives. We met children we’d only seen photographs of. This is a holiday tradition that brings nothing but lightness and laughter regardless of the subject of conversation. We all enjoy each others company. We may see some of these people during sugar season or bump into them at a local watering hole but it’s only when we get our tree that all of us get together and laugh.