The perfect tree: Part two

So. Last time I gave a bit of history about finding the perfect tree. This post will detail our adventure with this year's tree.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving arrived. It was get-our-tree day! We woke up to snow falling. It was coming down pretty good, but it was just beginning to stick. We drove to church, and as we worshiped it was snowing steadily.

After church, friends asked what we planned to do that day. When we said, "We're getting our Christmas tree", eyebrows were raised, and we got a few "be- careful" comments. My mom sent her cell phone along with us, as we are probably the only Americans who don't own one. Our plan was to go home, change into warmer clothes and then head out to the Christmas tree farm.

As we began driving out of town, a few things I noticed: The snow was very thick. It was windy. There weren't many cars out. But onward we went, driving towards the Christmas tree farm we've never been to before.

On the highway, we saw not one but many cars that had slid off the road. Everyone was driving about 10 mph. Hm. It was at this point that I began saying things to my husband like, "Honey. You know that I trust your best judgement, here. But I'm wondering if it wouldn't be best just to turn around and go home?" I tried this, too: "Don't you think maybe it would be wise for us to head home?" And this: "Sweetie. I'm just trusting you with this. And I know you are a very safe and careful driver. And I really would like a tree, but I don't really want to endanger our lives in order to get it." His response was, "We'll be fine. We're driving slow. We're fine." Now, my husband is very cautious, thoughtful and full of wisdom. I do trust him. So I pretended to rest in this particular decision and began some earnest praying. And I took some pictures out the window. Here's one of them:

By the time we were at our exit-- which was barely evident from the freeway; what with the blizzard that we were driving through and all-- we had passed 12 cars in ditches. And what would normally have taken us about 20 minutes to drive had taken us over an hour.

The kids were pretty oblivious to the fact that we were in any sort of danger. Our youngest was asleep. The other two were happily pointing out things like, "Mommy! Another car in the ditch!" Or, "Mommy! An accident!"

We neared-- to the best of our knowledge-- the Christmas tree farm. But, alas- a tree had fallen onto the road, blocking our pursuit of the perfect tree. (Unfortunately the fallen tree was far too large to strap onto our van and light up when we got home.) At this point I was sure we would treacherously attempt a U-turn and be on our way home. I repeat: a TREE fell down.

Mark put the van in park, got out, and promptly began to drag the tree off the road. Fortunately, another vehicle appeared- on the opposite side of the tree- and the driver and his two daughters went to assist Mark. I was not leaving my children. After all, if a tree could fall on the road, it could fall on us, and I surely wasn't leaving them to bear that trauma alone.

Ten minutes later, the tree aside, we pressed forward. At this point I'm really truly embarrassed at the thought of approaching the elderly couple who runs the tree farm to tell them that we are out in these elements for a Christmas tree.

Wait until you hear our lovely approach.

Finally we spotted the tree farm. We weren't sure where we were supposed to park. Certainly there were no other vehicles around to give us a heads-up. But we spotted the home, next to the trees. We saw the owners cars parked under a carport at the end of what was likely a driveway- it sloped gently down towards the house. Mark said, "I wonder where I should park?" (I'm still thinking, "We should NOT park.") But in an effort to be helpful, I said, "This looks like their driveway, doesn't it?" And he pulled in.

It became immediately clear that whether this was their driveway or not, we had made an unwise choice to pull off the road.

We were VERY stuck. And- upon inspection (whereupon I opened my door and as I did so, shoved snow along with my door- the snow was that deep), we were stuck in their front yard, not their driveway.

Mark was on a mission to get our van out. I was on a mission to hide. I was sure this couple was looking at us through their very-large-front-window. Just wait until they hear why we'd come. After a few minutes of trying to reverse up the hill, my wonderful- and very wet- husband indicated that we were going to have to dig out a path in front of our vehicle, so that we could move forward, not backwards. His words to me, "We're digging up their yard pretty bad, here."

I got out and helped him dig a path. Mark, being the resourceful guy that he is, disovered a political sign this couple had had in their yard that we had run over (the sign wasn't evevisible; the snow was covering it), and he was using that as a shovel.

We still had not made contact with the couple. By this time they were indeed peering out the front window; I'd seen them. I asked Mark to go talk with them (after all, maybe they had a real shovel?), but he said "I will in a minute." I figured we were in a race against time- the snow was still falling by the bucketful, and the conditions were pretty bad, and only getting worse. The wind was really picking up by now. So I began digging in earnest. As I dug, I was secretly hoping that when we did make contact with the tree-farm owners, we could sort of pretend that we just happened to be passing by, and kind of slipped into their yard. Nevermind our interest in their trees, for goodness sakes.

I popped in to tell the kids that we would not be getting our tree today; we were going to dig a path out and then drive home. It was too dangerous. When I headed back out to resume digging, I mentioned to Mark what I'd conveyed. Sort of a the-kids-have-been-prepared-and-they-won't-be-too-disappointed-when-we-head-for-home type of an FYI. Mark looked at me in astonishment. "What? We're not going home! We're getting our TREE!"

When my mouth dropped open, he finished with, "We're AT the tree farm, Stacy. We might as well get the tree." I couldn't really argue with the fact that we were indeed here, at the tree farm. Or more specifically,, so we continued digging. After he was sure we'd cleared a nice path for our van to get out, he decided to head on over to the house of those whose yard we had just torn up. Nice. I ducked back into the van in utter embarrassment.

He knocked on the door and introduced himself to the woman. Their conversation follows:

Mark: "You'll never guess why we're here."
Woman: "Oh, I see you've slid off the road. Do you need anything?"
Mark: "No. We're actually here for our Christmas tree."
Woman: "Is there anything you need? Would you like to use our phone?"
Mark: "No, thank you. Like I said, you'll never believe it, but we're actually here to get our Christmas tree today."


Woman, (shocked): "You are?"

And then he explained about the yard, said we'd dug it up a bit in trying to reverse, and gave her our contact information and told her he would make a trip out to fix it if needed when the snow cleared. Then she went and got him a saw.

The plan was this: I was in charge of bundling up the kids for their brief trip outdoors. Mark went to scout out the Christmas tree farm.

Problem: Mark couldn't actually see much of any tree when he went out, as they were blanketed with snow.

Solution: He scurried through the the tree farm, shaking the snow off trees (so that I could have a better idea of what they looked like when I made it out there).

Then he came running back to retrieve us. He said he'd shaken the snow off 8 trees, and we'd go out and take a quick look at those ones; hopefully I'd find one I liked. He helped me get the kids out of the van.

Problem: The snow was so deep they couldn't move.

Solution: Again, kudos to my resourceful husband. The woman had given him some cardboard to use (so that he wouldn't get wet, presumably, as he cut down our tree. We were a little beyond the not-getting-wet point, but the cardboard did come in handy.) Mark quickly converted it into a sled for our two oldest, and pulled them into the Christmas tree farm. I admit, you really can't beat that.

I carried our youngest, and out we all traipsed to view the 8 newly-shaken trees. I didn't particularly see one that I liked. But it was cold. And our youngest had already lost his boot. And Mark was urging me to be quick. (The tree farm was surrounded by very tall, thin trees that were snapping like small twigs. And he'd just seen one fall completely down. And he'd heard others. And as we stood there, yes, I could hear these huge trees snapping. Wonderful.

I made a quick decision, and chose a tree for it's height. The snow was falling so heavily I could really barely tell anymore which trees he'd shaken off.

Mark kicked aside a few feet of snow and got down to cut our tree. I organized the kids and found the missing boot. And we made it back to the van. Where I wrote out a check for $20. Mark strapped the tree to the top of our van, returned the saw, and paid the dear woman. I was glad we could provide her and her husband with an entire afternoon of entertainment. Right in their front yard.

We worked a bit more to clear a space, and after about 15-20 minutes-- me driving, Mark pushing-- we made it back to the road. What a relief!

As we very slowly drove back home-- with more fervant prayers for our safety-- we saw more cars off the road. I think on our way home I counted 20 in all. And we saw a fire truck and an ambulance. And lots of tow trucks.

I couldn't help but wonder what all these people (especially those in the ditches) were thinking as they saw our van drive by. Yup, that's us. Just out for a nice Sunday drive to get our Christmas tree.

* * *

Some additional pictures... (for anyone who's still reading. My, that was a long post!)

Here's the tree, thawing in our shower


1 comment:

  1. Dec. 6, 2006 - You have got to be kidding!
    Posted by Dana
    I think I said that like 5+ times out loud while reading this post.
    That was crazy. Troopers you are.
    My Dad's in Tacoma (where I was born) - say's the weather is insane.
    That was super funny!


    Dec. 6, 2006 - LOL!
    Posted by Sandi
    I laughed out loud the whole way through this. Partly because we think very much alike and are married to similar men. I can hear my husband say the same thing "We are here! We should get the tree".


    Dec. 6, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by lindafay
    Very funny story. It will be a memory you all retell over and over again! (Why are so many memories funnier AFTER the event?)

    When I was a young teen, we had a similiar experience. It was a comedy of errors. Finally, upon getting it home, we decided it was ugly. A huge 'hole' was in one side, so we drove the 20 miles back and got another 15 foot one. This time, upon returning home, we realized we left our dog behind! After finding the dog, my brother and dad took about TWO hours trying to make a tree stand that would hold this huge tree up. We waited impatiently. Finally, we decorated the tree beautifully. Ten minutes later, while eating supper, we heard a huge crashing noise. The whole thing had fallen down! We were so frustrated, but we've never forgotten that Christmas.


    Dec. 7, 2006 - Oh Stacy!!
    Posted by AussieinAmerica
    That is ridiculous!! What a memory. You gave me a good laugh this morning.
    Hope you enjoy that tree.


    Dec. 7, 2006 - Oh My!
    Posted by Anonymous
    Stacy, that was crazy! I kept reading your post saying they must be turning around soon.. But nope, you just kept right on. I am glad you and your family are OK, and your car was not one of the ones in the ditch. Merry Christmas! Amy Crawford


    Dec. 7, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by momco3
    Stacy, that IS the perfect tree. And this story will clearly become one of your family legends. In fact, you probably should have left the fallen-off boot there, so that the story would be even better.
    We had a similar fiasco (driving-even-though-we'd-seen-about-twelve-kack-knifed-semis-off-the-road) about 10 years ago, and our family still asks to hear the story.
    But praise God you were all safe.
    Happy Advent.


    Dec. 7, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by MicheleinNZ
    Even if it was the ugliest tree you'd ever seen, I think you'd declare it beautiful simply because of the effort it took to get it! I'm glad that you all arrived home safely and the tree really is beautiful.


    Dec. 7, 2006 - proof
    Posted by Amy
    Yep, this story is the ultimate proof of what a sucker you guys are for tradition. Nothing will get in your way!
    And you do always have the best tree!
    Love you guys, Amy


    Dec. 7, 2006 - How could it have gottten better??
    Posted by Michelle
    Seriously....I already knew the whole story (EXCEPT THE PART ABOUT THAWING THE TREE OUT IN THE SHOWER!! YOU HAD LEFT THAT PART OUT BEFORE!!)....and I STILL laughed out loud through the whole thing!! You guys are nuts!! But, I admire your "stick-to-it-ness"!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations on getting your perfect tree (or at least making it home alive in one piece!!)


    Dec. 8, 2006 - ROTFL!!!!!
    Posted by Anonymous
    Stacy, I couldn't stop laughing through this! Absolutely *hilarious* piece--- and so *true* to character... you can't help but read this and nod! ~YEP!~ I am still laughing as I write this comment! What a story for posterity for your children.... this is the wonder of being a mama and passing these stories on---and you told yours exquisitely!

    A pure joy to read, Stacy! Thank you for giving us our medicine of joyful hearts this morning ~smile~
    All is grace,
    Ann V.


    Dec. 8, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Anonymous
    Wow, what an experience and wonderful memories! Glad you got your tree!



    Dec. 8, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by dtandfambly
    What a fun story you will have for years to come!! I still can't believe you went through with it and took pictures the whole way! This was fun to read! Thanks for sharing.


    Dec. 9, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Stephanie
    When it is the day to get your Christmas tree- it is clearly is going to happen! I laughed so hard picturing the whole thing. You certainly gave that couple a Christmas memory not easily forgetten!!!


    Dec. 9, 2006 - Soooo funny!
    Posted by Sarah

    Your story is hilarious! I think my favorite part is the tree in the shower!! hehe


    Dec. 9, 2006 - Ohhhhhhh!!!!
    Posted by HeadingHomeward
    How all your pictures brought back memories for me! I grew up way in the mountains where we could go hunt for our own tree. It was ALWAYS snowy and SUCH a wonderful adventure! I just found your blog today and enjoyed this post so much!
    Many blessings,


    Dec. 11, 2006 - Christmas trees...
    Posted by Anonymous
    Stacy...what an amazing story!!! I can't even comprehend the photos of the blizzard!! It will reach the 70's here today...a vast difference from what you are experiencing!! Keep those babies warm! I wish we had our tree up and decorated...hopefully this week! Diane


    Dec. 12, 2006 - what a memory
    Posted by teena6
    I sat here in the wee hours of the night.... downloading some pics.... waiting and reading your blog.

    What a great story..... I love the pics... it truly will be a forever memory.

    we live in the south.... and it doesn't snow here ~ GA~ once when my dd and I went to pick up our tree ... I had sick littles so we couldn't all go.... they tied it to the top of our van but not tight enough! YEP~ it fell off on the way home! We live on back, rural roads.... dark roads.... it was after dark and her and I searching around .... in the ditch to find our tree. We did!!!!

    One of the ladies in our church after hearing my story brought me a *pin* with a car with a tree tied to the top. She said "for your memory"

    we still talk about it

    you will always remember~
    What a great mama you are!


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