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Dec 26, 2012 11:57 AM CST
For some weird reason nobody could figure, my mom loved Christmas but hated any an all things related to the Christmas tree. To this day, I try to figure out why and come empty-handed each time.
We lived in a small rural town in Canada, where my dad was a police officer. Our old house had 12-foot ceilings. My dad was inevitably in charge of going to some farm and cutting the tree and bringing it home. He always came home with a 16-footer; it never failed. Then, he would cut off the bottom 4-foot section, which he saved. He fitted the tree into the cast iron holder and stood up his 12-foot tree.
Then, he would say: There's a hole here, and there, and over there, and there. Let's turn that side towards the wall because it's not very nice on that side. My mom soon would become exasperated by this Christmas tree business. She would get in the car and go shopping, visit her sister, or do something that got her out of the house, lest she come down with a severe case of the vapors.
About remediating the tree. That's where the 4-foot cut-off section entered the plan. He would find a hole where no branch had grown, measure the neighboring branches and drill a hole where a branch would have ideally grown. He would cut off one of his remedial branches to the right length, use a sharp knife so the remedial branch would fit the hole he had drilled into the trunk and insert that branch in place. The process was repeated until the tree's shape was perfect. That usually involved most of an afternoon.
He would then place the tree in a bucket and fill it with water. He tells me the tree drank more than a quart of water every day and he made sure the bucket was never, ever empty. The tree could then be decorated. Amazingly, the grafted branches didn't turn brown and lasted until we brought the Christmas tree out in the back yard , planted it into a snow drift and set fire to it. My mom, thinking safety first, kept us well away from the tree as she set fire to it, using a sheet of crumpled newspaper between the bottom branches. That was her favorite part of Christmas, I guess.
Take care, all.
Edited because I can't spell today: worrisome.
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