To Tree or Not To Tree? That Is the Question
By Cappy Hall Rearick
In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” ~Larry Wilde
As soon as the turkey carcass is history, Babe and I begin our annual debate over what to do about a Christmas tree. How big should it be? Do we buy a real tree or go with a fake one? We even explore the idea of not putting up a tree at all.
Babe never fails to vote for a pre-lit tree, direct from China, often flocked with asbestos-looking white pellets. He wants his fake tree to be the biggest one since the invention of plastic.
That is not now, nor has it ever been what I want, so in previous years when I won the debate, I high-tailed it out to Happy Pappy’s Fresh-Cut Tree Farm on the edge of town. Last Christmas, however, it all came to an end when Pappy got busted.
The rumor going around was that his customers were lighting up and spreading joy, but it wasn’t Pappy’s fresh-cut trees that got lit. So, when this year’s Christmas Tree Debate began in earnest, I concluded that, like a lot of things in 2020, my trip to the fresh-cut tree farm was a no-go. Thanks to Pappy, I was fresh out of options. Pun intended.
Babe said, “Hey! Here’s an idea. Let’s buy six small trees and place them throughout the house. We can trim them with leftover decorations from the giant tree I bought last year when I won and you lost the debate. Won’t that be fun?”
Babe doesn’t do decorating or much of anything that involves getting up from his recliner. His energy level spikes after two bites of a protein bar and nosedives after adjusting his La-Z-Boy. When he suggested buying and decoratingsix Christmas trees to put all over the house, both his mental and physical well-being scared the Dickens out of me.
“Did you say WE,” I asked while looking around for my mask. “Babe, are you nuts? Running a high fever? Please tell me you didn’t catch Covid.”
“I’m fine as wine. This can be the year of the Christmas Tree Compromise,” he added, his eyes bright as that famous Star in the East.
“Compromise as in give and take? Who are you and what have you done with my husband? Give him back. I promise you’ll thank me later.”
The silly smile pasted on his face made him look like Bozo the Clown which made me wonder if he had a Pappy Powwow while I was Christmas shopping (on line wearing a mask).
“I say we buy six small trees —three for you and three for me. You want to sweep needles off the floor every day? Knock yourself out. I opt for three pre-lit fake trees that, as you often remind me, come from a hallowed place in China known the world over as Zhejiang. Six trees will make the house feel so Christmassy.”
By this time, I was pretty sure he was hallucinating. While visions of sugarplums were spinning in his head, images of a vodka crantini pirouetted like Baryshnikov on crack in mine.
“Babe, you must have a high fever and/or COVID because you’re delusional if you think I’m going to put up and decorate six Christmas trees.”
He threw up his hands. “I can’t imagine why not. It’s a perfect solution.”
I stared at him and prayed he wasn’t contagious. “Solution to what?”
He sighed. “Six small trees means we can both win the debate.”
“Wait here,” I said. “Don’t even blink till I come back. I need to look for a thermometer and the biggest bottle of vodka in the house.”
“Well, it sounds to me like you’re gung ho to take my temperature,” he said, “but what’s up with the vodka? It’s not even noon.”
“But it’s five o’clock somewhere in the world. I just texted Santa to drop down the chimney with a load of Prozac for me and a straitjacket for you. He texted back and said, “Drink crantini’s till Christmas Eve and save one for me.”