We bought our tree last night at Wilson Farm in Lexington. Something spicy was in their oven when we arrived, maybe gingerbread loaves. The scent was strong, sweet and intoxicating. We became drunk with Christmas spirit. We filled our shopping cart with wreaths and boughs and bows, and stared hard at their big, fat tubes of colorful frosting, meant for decorating gingerbread men. We wanted some badly, even though we don't plan to decorate cookies. We wanted to shoot the icing straight into our mouths. We restrained ourselves, but only because we'll be returning closer to Christmas.
Last year, we bought the first tree we were shown on the lot, and it was gorgeous in our living room, if a wee bit short. (But all trees seem too short to me.) This year, we were hopeful that we'd get lucky again. Sure enough, we found the Tree Guy. I'm pretty sure he was the same fellow who helped us last year. I've always been a very fussy tree shopper. I've been chalking up our love-at-first-sight tree success to careful pruning by tree farmers nowadays, but now I think it's really due to The Tree Guy. We encountered him in near darkness as we headed for the trees.
"Are you looking for a tree? he asked, squinting at us.
"Yes. Are you here to sell us one? I replied, squinting back.
"I can do that, but I'm kind of new at this. What are you looking for?"
"We're very difficult," my husband warned."
"Not a problem. Everyone is. What do you want?"
"The most important thing is that it still looks fresh on Christmas." I said.
"Frasier fir!" he said.
I said, "It needs to be about 9 feet tall and but not too bushy or wide. We need a tall, thin, perfectly shaped tree."
"And it has to be very smelly," said my husband."
"Balsam fir!" said the Tree Guy and my husband almost in unison. The Tree Guy looked at us expectantly. We looked expectantly at him.
"Is that all?" said Tree Guy, looking disappointed. "That's not hard. Come over here."
"No, we're really, really fussy." We told him about how we'd returned a tree to Wilson Farm a few years ago. He was unfazed.
He took deep into the lot, past a well-dressed couple surveying a tree just like the one I wanted.
"Beautiful tree!" I said.
"Make me an offer on it," said the man in the topcoat and tie. We kept going.
Tree Guy pulled out one tree from a long row and shook it out. It was perfect; we bought it.
"You're really good!" I said.
"Actually, I'm not new. I've been selling trees here for 18 years."
He really is good, because he sold my husband a $100 tree. I had no idea he'd spent that much until we were back in the bakery department. I was stunned. Normally he'd never pay that much. I blame his profligacy mostly on the smell of that gingerbread. I'm dying to bake some, although I can't mix batter with my right hand. I blame it a little on family issues and our new habit of throwing money at the myriad problems involved in clearing my hoarder relative's house and putting it back to normal.
It's nearly midnight, and the tree is sitting in its stand, still waiting for lights and ornaments. Snalbert likes the tree just as it is. He's been chomping on it and spitting it back up since it arrived. It's his personal salad bar. We'll decorate it tomorrow, I guess. We're both exhausted these days. I spent all day putting the finishing touches on my relative's house. She comes home tomorrow night.
I finished all of my chores except for baking or buying something yummy to leave in her kitchen tomorrow and a little more Christmas decorating. The place looks wonderful to us; we're so proud and protective of it. We can't stand to see a scrap of anything on the floor, which is hilarious when we realize that we couldn't SEE the floor a week ago.
Anyone else would see the worn, shabby home of a senior, but we see a small miracle.
I don't know what she'll see, but we're about to find out....