Daddy worked lots of late hours; the Christmas season was no exception. Because Mom didn’t drive, we had to wait until Daddy came home early enough on a December evening to eat, then all hop in the car to go shopping for a tree under the Christmas tree lights at the nearest tree lot, often after dark. We were in the city. This was the way we did it.
As much as I dreamed about a ceiling high tree (just like those pictured on Christmas cards), we didn’t have a corner that wasn’t already taken in our living room. So, we always purchased a “table top” tree; one that stood roughly four to four and a half feet high. Mom loved the silver tips; year in, year out, that is what came home with us on a wooden stand. The size fit nicely on our marble-topped, Victorian table. The table was already in front of the large picture window. There was plenty of room underneath the cabriole carved legs to tuck packages safely out of the way from footsteps; all were simple but good reasons to keep the tree in the same place each year.
It was getting closer to Christmas, and Daddy was working long hours. Mom announced to us that we were going to walk down the boulevard, pick out a tree, then ask Daddy to pick it up on the way home that evening. Okay…sounded like a plan! So, Brat and I bundled up and walked with our mother the two and a half blocks to the tree lot. At least this time we were choosing a tree in daylight; we were excited and made the rounds, turning the silver tips around until we found one that was just right!
Somewhere between our picking it out and Mom paying for it, Brat and I missed the discussion with the tree salesmen about taking it with us. Mom agreed, convinced that we could easily carry it, and then reminded us how tired Daddy would be by the time he got home that evening… why, we three could save Daddy a stop, right? We could carry the tree home… Wouldn’t that be fun?
It was broad daylight; the entire walk home, Brat and I prayed none of our friends or neighbors (whose mothers drove, by the way) would see us walking up the street carrying our Christmas tree; we had to look up to cross a couple of corners, but I would not look at any cars for fear I’d recognize anyone!
We were groaning at the thought that we might have to explain exactly why we were carrying a Christmas tree home. I vowed that if I EVER had children I would NEVER make them do anything like this.
We stopped a couple of times to better grasp our portions of the trunk (envision the Seven Dwarfs carrying the log in the movie trailer for Snow White and you have the picture ); except that we weren’t singing.
The more we complained, the more Mom giggled, lightly reprimanding us and deciding that this was truly an adventure! Wasn’t this fun?
That had to be the longest, two and a half blocks Brat and I ever walked. We wanted to die from embarrassment.
And Mom wondered why we babies in the family grew up believing she’d come over with the Donner Party…