O Christmas Tree

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The kids have taken to saying “if it happens twice, it’s a tradition.” We seem to be big on tradition at home and that does gives the year a certain structure. We also recognize the need to add and subtract traditions or twist them to accommodate current circumstances.Take Christmas tree shopping. Most years we go and cut one from a tree farm. Sometimes we take the lazy way and ride over to Home Depot and consider ourselves done. Cutting the tree though, bring Robbie a particular pleasure. Kate used to come along but without the same boundless enthusiasm yet, she did make her desires well known.Some years, we’d ride to Easton thinking we’d go to one farm, not like it; go down the ride to the next or third one. Then came the year Robbie told us of accompanying his friend John to a different one. We haven’t been anywhere else since. The Maple Row Tree Farm is huge so there’s most certainly something for everyone. They have tractors to bring tree cutters to the more distant acreage so you even get a brief hay ride.With Kate in D.C., we three headed out yesterday with Deb suggesting an alternate route. We got lost and found ourselves in a time warp starting at one farm, not like it; go down the ride to the next or third one. The difference this time was that Robbie asked for directions to the one we really wanted and lo and behold, we found Maple Row.The place was packed and the trees were plentiful, even 10 days before Christmas. We grabbed a saw and began wandering, spreading out to find the “right” tree. Early on, Deb found one she really, really liked. We were lukewarm and continued to hunt. Each time, from then on, that Rob or I found something for consideration; Deb had one of us protect “her” tree until she checked out the newest find. Early on, we called Kate for her opinion, even sending her a digital shot of a tree we liked but she demurred, deciding she would abstain from voting.Deb really liked the tree. Normally, we look for one that, after trimming the bottom, would be a little better than six feet tall and full for all the ornaments. Her tree was tall enough but a little too skinny for the boys. Still, she made her desires known by refusing to give up on it and hugging it to show her emphasis. Kate later observed that Deb was never known as a tree-hugger.Finally, with the clock ticking and other things to do, she agreed to consider one final option. She went with it and later insisted it’s an exact twin to the one she abandoned. Rob and I clearly didn’t see it that way. He cut it down and we dragged it for netting and then into the car it went.Later, as we did our errands, the cell phone rang and it was Kate, checking in to see what we had gotten. After all, she didn’t want to be that far removed from the proceedings.It sits in a bucket of water in the backyard and next Saturday it’ll come in to settle and warm up. Sunday is the tree trimming tradition and onward into the other Holiday festivities.

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