My Christmas tree is assembled, the lights are on, and the pepper-berry garland is in place. The ornaments are already beginning to go through a series of trips to various boughs of the tree (as I rearrange them daily) and should reach their final destination on or by Christmas Eve. That is when I shall take one final look at my masterpiece and exclaim, "That's as good as it's ever going to get!" And then resolve that next year it will look even better. :)
I was off to a slow start in filling up my cup of Christmas Cheer this year, but I finally managed to get around to that tree. For those who go the "real" route, getting the family Christmas tree can be a lively excursion - loading all of the kids into the minivan and driving out to the country. Crouched on the snowy shoulder of a dirt and gravel road, knees numb from the cold, you nearly freeze your "aspidistra" off sawing for dear life while the kids keep an eye out for Johnny Law! Of course, the less adventurous folk buy one from a tree lot. I, on the other hand, head to the lowest level of my house...to do battle. To take but one prisoner.
This is my tale....
For eleven long months, my artificial tree has sat dormant in the "Basement Du Frigidaire", waiting under boxes of Easter decorations, old baby clothes, and furnace filters. It waits by the broken lamp, smelling faintly of cat litter, rust and cinnamon candles, for the day to come when I would once again free it from the evil clutches of The Roughneck Tote of Entrapment.
Last weekend that day had arrived. I headed down the narrow and dark basement steps (Note to self: change basement light bulb), holding onto the railing every inch of the way. I pushed aside the clothes basket blocking my path. Pausing for a moment to pay homage to the beloved baby swing that had served us so well over the years, I headed for the tote that contained the beast. I could sense its fury as I began to unearth it from the pile of rubble set atop the mighty tree. It sought the warmth and freedom of the main floor, but in order to get those luxuries it must first bend to my will. I knew it would not leave this place easily.
The Tote of Entrapment bulged at the sides, barely able to contain the incredible mass of the tree. It was secured with duct tape to reinforce its hold and still the tree threatened to break free. Grasping the end of the box, I surveyed the path back to the stairs. It looked clear. I gave a great push and felt the muscles in my legs cinch tight, but the tree didn't budge. I recovered quickly and moved around to the front of the green plastic sarcophagus to see what was impeding my progress. I saw there was a length of two by four under the Tote of Entrapment. Mumbling my frustration into the dank basement air, I dislodged the board and returned to my position behind the box. With another forceful shove I felt the box move smoothly toward the bottom of the basement steps.
I wrestled with the enormous tree, lifting and pushing and lifting and pushing every step of the journey. Near the turn at the top I caught my sleeve on the railing and for a moment I lost my grip on the monstrous, tree-filled box. I felt the tree slide backward. "No!", I cried. I could see I was close to the end of my battle. I couldn't give up now. I wouldn't give up now! Like a laboring mother who has just learned that her baby's head is crowning, I gave one more fantastic push and the tree sprang forth into the kitchen. Carried by the momentum of that fierce push, I charged through the kitchen and dining room yelling a war cry that sounded something like this, "GETOUTTATHEWAYGETOUTTATHEWAYGETOUTTATHEWAY!!!"
At last the battle was won! I was triumphant! I danced jubilantly around the living room while my children sang my praises and my dog cocked his ears, turning his head to one side. The children helped me to unfasten the box that held the tree captive. It burst out of the Tote of Entrapment with the same sound heard when opening a new two liter of pop. Freed from its plastic cage, we set it up in the corner of the living room where it now stands, obediently holding up strands of lights and brightly colored ornaments on its "lifelike" boughs.
Once again I have tamed the mighty beast. Another year...victory is mine!!
Behold awesomeness of the Green Giant: