Sunday, December 22, 2013

Needles and Pines

It's been a long, long, long, long time since I've had a real tree for Christmas. The kind where the needles get all over the place. And the pine scent starts several feet away, getting stronger as you approach closer.

When I was growing up, we always had real trees, or at least that's how I remembered it. One year, Dad had to cut the top off so it would fit in the family room he built. And he was always putting water in the bowl in which the trunk sat so the tree wouldn't die before the holiday was over.

The tree was right inside the back door that we always used to enter the house and, when we returned home Christmas Eve from whichever of Dad's relatives was hosting that year's rotation, my mother would hustle my brother and me past the tree and up to bed - so we wouldn't see what presents her side of the family had snuck in and left so they'd be waiting for us Christmas morning. After Larry and I were allegedly asleep, my parents would add their own gifts to the stash.

Donna-Lane had purchased a pine log stand with a pre-drilled hole, and together we bought a well-shaped 6-foot tree, which I carried home to the Warren and placed on the patio in a copper pot with water to preserve it until we were ready to trim.

Early Sunday morning, I sawed off some small branches near the bottom of the trunk, then picked up the tree to position it in the stand. Ooops - the trunk was a good bit larger than the hole in the stand. About a centimeter or more larger. I didn't have anything to make the hole larger, so the only option was to make the end of the trunk smaller. D-L asked if I was going to use the Swiss Army Knife she gave me, but this was a job for the bigger (though rather dull) saw. After about 30 minutes of hacking, I reduced the trunk diameter sufficient so it would fit and hold.

After lunch, we donned our holiday hats, and to the music of Mannheim Steamroller set about to trim the tree for our first Christmas together in Argeles-sur-mer.

D-L's blog about the ornaments can be read at And here's a little time-lapse video of this historic event:

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