When I was 14, my dad was in the hospital the month of December and mom said, “you are the man of the house, and it is part of your job to find us a tree.” It was snowing that day, the wind was a blowing from the Northeast something fierce, and the drifts were piling up to a point taller than I. Now, this was before my physical growth spurt of 6″ one fine summer, so I was still “little”. If one would call 5′-6″ “little.” I bundled up and headed out down our lane, crossed the gravel road which traversed the valley and followed the neighbor’s fence to a wood lot about a mile away, just below the ledge of limestone outcropping. The area had a creek running thru it, with marsh grass along its banks.
By this time the wind and snow had created white out conditions, and it was uphill – really! When saw to the woodlot, I made left hand turn and sought out the evergreen area. Scouring the area in front of me, I spotted a grey form not far in front of me, and when I managed a closer look, found the Xmas tree to take back home. I was not being too choosy today, as any old green tree would do. I cut it down with my trusty hatchet, yes a hatchet! – ghezz, my story – and tied a rope to the base. I then looped the rope around my waist and started back for home.
After struggling a hundred yards, I then noticed that my back trail had all but disappeared, so I headed in the direction to where the fence should be. After some angst moments the fence line was spotted thru the blowing snow, and now the path to the road was assured, and I could see the tree setting in its entire splendor in the living room corner. I dragged that pesky tree for a mile downhill and then uphill and finally made the lane to home. Walking down the country lane, I felt like an explorer returning from a great adventure. The chair beside the wood fire and heat from the pot-bellied stove in the kitchen became my resting place while I sipped hot chocolate.
My socks and pants hung on the back of the chair and steamed as the snow and ice melted off them leaving little puddles on the floor.
Now, a new family tradition started about 10 years ago in 2003, and that is game day the day after Thanksgiving. It is also our very own way of boycotting Black Friday and all the people shopping to kick off the Christmas season.