We’ve become pros at picking out a Christmas tree from the Wal-Mart parking lot – check in the back of the lot, look for vibrant colors and pray for clearance tags… but this year our family decided to brave the frigid mountain air, the wild animals and the snowy pathways to cut down our very own live tree.
Oh yeah, baby.
I donned my rugged big girl boots (and my long underwear) and Brian, Sam and I climbed into the truck. We picked up our good friend Andrea and stopped by the permit office. The city wants you to cut down trees to help with fire control, but you have to get a permit and pay $10 per tree.
Brian went in and came back out smiling. Sam asked him what was so funny.
Well, Brian explained, the woman had given him a stern look and asked, “Do you have 4-wheel drive? Chains?”
Brian had laughed (his manly laugh, I’m sure). “No, 2-wheel drive truck with no chains.”
She had raised her eyebrows. “It’s bad up there. The roads are like this—“ she’d made a triangle shape with her hands, indicating lots and lots and lots of snow. “So you’ll probably slide off the road and get stuck.”
Brian told us every detail of the conversation with sheer little boy giddiness—nothing like some danger, ice and snow to make his day. “I told her she didn’t know what kind of driver I was… that we’d be just fine.”
Sam piped up from the back seat. “I don’t think you should have told Mom that conversation, Brian.”
He looked over at me and I plastered a grin over my look of wide-eyed fear. “Sliding into a ditch? Getting stuck? No problem. What’s Christmas without a little adventure?” I hoped no one would notice that my voice was several octaves higher than normal. I was really just trying to drown out the crazy woman inside my head: We’re going to die. We’re going to die. We’re going to find the perfect tree, cut it down, load it into the truck and then slide into a ditch and die. Oh yeah baby. Merry Christmas.
We stopped by Lowes to pick up a saw. Brian was on the phone, so I confidently picked out the biggest saw I could find. He shook his head as he pointed to a saw half it’s size and twice as thin.
Seriously? I mouthed.
We’ll be up there for days trying to cut down a tree with that thing, the crazy woman said in my head. Did you bring any food along? You’ll probably starve. Or freeze. Or freeze AND starve. That sounds like loads of holiday fun…
The sun was shining brightly and the temperature was heating up. I could see water on the sides of the roads as we cruised up into the foothills. Maybe it would all melt? Oh Lord, let it all melt. We made our way higher and higher, to the area of the Christmas trees.
The roads were fine.
My mountain man’s driving was perfect.
The company was fabulous.
We found the most beautiful trees, and it took all of two seconds to cut them down with the saw Brian had picked out.
We didn’t starve. We didn’t freeze. We didn’t die.
I’m sure there’s a lesson for me to learn in all of this, so I’ll be sure to think on it. But for right now, there’s a cool mountain tree that needs decorating and a rugged mountain man that needs smooching.
And yes, I think we’ve found a new tradition.