UNTOTALED: Stepping 10– Pining for a Tree (December 20th, 1965)… April 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  



I believed it to be a tradition. My dad contended it was merely an idea.

I insisted that he had promised that we would get our Christmas tree each year on my birthday, December 18th. He merely grunted, shook his head and walked away.

So on December 20th, rumbling around in a house without a tree, I confronted him.

Now, he, being sixty years old, of Pennsylvania Dutch descent, did not appreciate being challenged by his chubby, impudent son.

 “You get your own tree!”  he bellowed.

What he meant was that our family had a small piece of land outside of town, where my father had planted some pine trees with the wild inspiration of nurturing a Christmas tree farm. Unfortunately, the only thing that grew were the trees.

So I grabbed a small hatchet, rusty saw and bummed a ride from my older brother out to the farm. It had just snowed and was freezing and slippery. I trudged through the underbrush and ice to the grove of pines. I found one.

It was big. Too big.

I didn’t care. That fir was coming down.

I struck it with my hatchet.


I gnawed on it with my saw.

It barely creased the trunk.

All in all, it took two hours of hacking, sawing, bullying, kicking, bending and colorful language. Finally my tree tumbled, battered and wounded.

Branches were bent and it looked like it had been attacked by a pack of angry beavers.

I drug it to the car, stuffed it in the trunk, further damaging the remaining evergreen dignity.

But alas, this was merely the beginning of sorrows.

Trying to squeeze it into a stand, get it into the house and the turn the brokenness away from public view nearly distorted my mind.

My family laughed and cried. I didn’t care. We had a tree. I over decorated it to disguise the abuse.

After that year, a tree always appeared on my birthday–without exception.


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Published in: on April 12, 2014 at 4:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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