by Russ Dyer
The holiday season was then in full swing
When I judged it was time to reorder our thing.
We were tired of seeing the same plastic tree.
So off to the forest, we set feeling free;
A saw was in hand and a vision in mind;
A beauty, majestic, we set out to find.
A bit on our journey, we did realize,
Such trees are quite rare, a difficult prize.
We did find some woods and set on our search;
Hopping fence, log, and stream to a grand lofty perch
Scanning the scene, an amazing fir stood
Like a beacon it called to a much deeper wood.
As the point of a compass, we made our way there
Each step filled with rapture and fresh country air.
To an full open pasture with great tree in sight
We trudged one and all with vigor and might.
A song we all sang of the evergreen wonder
As the saw reached below and cut it down under.
There was joy in our hearts at the sound of the fall,
The work and the journey seemed nothing at all.
A rope for a harness and the tree as a sled
We pictured it dressed, streams of silver and red.
The children were singing each step of the way.
We knew it had been a most glorious spent day.
Back through the woods; the distance grew far.
We ached as we pulled all the way to the car.
Over hill, log, and fence, we made our way back;
But never, no never, did our spirits slack
No thought to diminish the joy of the spree
As each of us pictured our well decked out tree.
It took quite an effort to load it in atop
We tied it quite tight, no branch free to flop.
The engine was revving and ready to go,
As I noticed a man standing knee deep in snow.
A scowl and a gun said he was not a friend,
But I smiled and calmly tried to pretend.
He asked just one question as plain as could be.
Wondering just where we had gotten our tree.
I nervously told of our journey that day
And started to leave, but he told me to stay.
He noted the fence and a way down the line
For the first time I saw the “No Trespassing” sign.
The children were anxious and scared for their dad
With the gun and the anger, they knew it was bad.
I pleaded and told him our purpose that day;
And hoped to be granted a bit of allay.
I promised to pay his price of desire.
His scowl lessened then, and his face lifted higher.
Five hundred dollars or the law he would seek.
So I dug through the cash we had for the week
There were bills that would wait for a time yet to be.
For how could I pay them, if I wasn’t free?
He counted his money as we drove away,
And still I was pondering events of the day.
Arriving home with our marvelous tree,
We invited the neighbors to come out and see.
Mouths were agape as we showed our new pride
And set forth the effort to get it inside.
The door was too narrow, and branches too spread.
We pulled and we tugged until faces were red.
Trimmers were summoned and branches deleted,
My tears were flowing with each bit depleted.
Now finally in; pulled close to the wall,
We pressed it upright, but it was too tall.
Glorious feet of its growth would now go
From the top or the bottom, I just didn’t know.
Chopping and cutting, and finally right size;
So we stood it in place to examine our prize.
No word needed saying, as we all stood and stared
The glorious nature had no way been spared.
It’s hard to describe the all feelings applied
As we took what remained and tossed it outside.
There was nothing to say and nothing would do,
But to sit for a moment, self-pity to stew.
I was feeling a failure; a great sense of pall
I was sure I had ruined the Christmas for all.
It was then that I felt little hands touching mine.
She smiled and she told me we would be fine.
I realized then that it wasn’t the tree
That was making the season for them or for me.
It was time spent together that made it all right.
How could I make such an obvious slight?
So singing our songs, drinking cocoa and nog,
And bathed in the warmth of the burning yule log,
Our spirits were soaring. Our hearts were all free;
As the lights flickered bright on our old plastic tree.