Monday, November 28, 2005
A Christmas Story
It was the first Christmas that we were married. We were living in half of the attic of a three story house in State College, Pa. It had started out to be a bitterly cold winter. There was already almost a foot of snow on the ground. Nonetheless, Paul, the newly-wed in the other half the attic, and I decided to drive out into the countryside to find some Christmas trees. Our wives were skeptical of our woodsman ship. The last thing they said as we headed out with our handy little saw was, “Whatever you do, don’t bring back hemlocks.”
In the car and headed toward the farm and forest land outside of town, we confessed that neither of us knew a hemlock from an oak tree. No matter, we would know a pretty Christmas tree when we saw one.
We trudged into a likely looking area. We didn’t know where we were or who owned the land, but it wasn’t our intention to get caught. We found a couple of attractive trees and labored hard with the cute little saw. On the way back to the car we found it farther than we remembered .Dragging those trees through the snow was tough, but did little for our steadily freezing toes.
When we got close to the road, our whole bodies froze. Parked seventy five feet behind our car was a State Trooper. He didn’t move or say anything but we knew he was watching us. Dropping the trees and trying to look innocent didn’t seem a helpful option.
But no useful options occurred to us, so we went ahead and stuffed the trees in the car. The Trooper did nothing as we drove away toward home. He followed us from a comfortable distance right to the house. As we started unloading the trees, he drove up beside us, leaned out the window and waved, smiled and called, “Merry Christmas!”
By the way, we decorated the trees before we went to our homes for Christmas with our families. When we got back around New Years Day --- those hemlocks had dropped every single needle leaving naked, grotesque skeletons. You knew that, didn’t you?