By Brian Gleize
There I was, married to the love of my life; first year in our small new starter home in suburbia; time to start some Christmas traditions of our own.
“Why not start with the Christmas Tree!” we thought.
It had to be a real tree of course; none of those fake things for us. We wanted the smell of pine and the pride of accomplishment of finding our own tree, like our ancestors before us. So, we hopped in the truck and went to the local tree farm.
We walked right past the precut trees, went to an employee and said, “Give me a saw.”
As we walked down the manicured paths between the perfectly planted maturing trees, enjoying each other’s company, we found it! The perfect spruce, the perfect height, and just what we were on the hunt for. I sawed it down and pulled it back up to the shack.
The old man running the shack said, “You want me to wrap that for you?” Of course, I said, “No,” because everyone knows that’s completely unnecessary. We paid the man, I tossed the tree into the back of my truck and we got ready to leave.
The old man got my attention once more, “You want to tie that down?” Of course, I said, “No we don’t have that far to go.” So off we went filled with holiday spirit, everything was going great! It really is just a short drive home on a two-lane country road.
As we were nearing home, we came upon an 18-wheeler heading in the other direction. “Whoosh!” the rush of air physically shook us as the big truck passed. “Whoosh!” the sound of the air as our perfect spruce went airborne out of the truck bed doing its best gymnastics routine through the air and making a low-scoring landing across the country road behind us.
Quickly, I pulled off the road and began walking briskly towards my tree lying where it came to rest across the country road. It wasn’t far away, but further than I thought.
In the distance a car topped the hill. I walked a little faster.
Of course I had nothing to worry about, it wasn’t like the tree couldn’t be seen clearly lying in the road and me walking toward it. I walked a little faster. The car gets closer, and so do I.
It’s at this point that I should have taken notice of the potential risks I was taking; but this was our perfect spruce, our first Christmas tree, the start of our new family’s traditions. I walked a little faster.
I realize the car is not slowing down. I begin to run toward the tree (I like to think back that I was in a kind of dramatic slow-motion movie shot), but to no avail. The car drove right over the top of the tree as it lay in the road, not slowing down for even a moment.
The car passes me, and the little blue-haired lady driving can barely see over the top of the steering wheel. She looked like she was hanging from the steering wheel with both of her hands perfectly placed at ten and two. She had never once seen me or our perfect spruce.
When I made it to the tree there was no missing the two distinguished tire tracks almost perfectly placed equal distances from the top and bottom of the tree. I dragged that not so perfect spruce back to the truck, got it home, put it up and decorated it with loving care.
My wife and I still laugh about that first Christmas tree. Luckily no one was hurt that day; and even though the risks seem silly in hindsight, it has always reminded us that life moves forward, and bad situations are what you make of them. Perseverance and staying positive are important to a happy life.
P.S. We have an artificial tree now!