Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Miracle of the Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas Everyone!

To say that Ol' Dangerous doesn't like the holiday season is a bit of an understatement. He will tell you without asking that "Christmas is people spending money they don't have on gifts that other people don't want!" Rest assured that Dangerous had little to do with the four Christmas trees decorating our living room, or the sad set of lights in the front yard.

While he will tell you that he hates Christmas, I am not sure I believe him. He may not like all the gift buying, but he does love a good Christmas story. If you press him, he will tell you about the Lionel electric train he got for Christmas in 1956. Press him a bit further, and he will show it to you. He still has all the tracks, locomotive, cars, and whistle house stored away in their original boxes.

Since he won't own up to liking the holidays, I guess it is up to me to wish you a Merry Christmas. Because Dangerous is so cheap, I don't have any money to buy gifts, but I can share a Christmas story with you. I wasn't around when it happened, but I have heard Dangerous and Utah repeat it often enough that I know it by heart.

Years back, Utah and Dangerous used to load all seven kids into Utah's '77 Suburban and head to Grover to sleigh ride. Unlike other kids, they didn't get to slide down neatly groomed sledding or tubing hills. Their dads would hook their sleighs to the back of the truck and drag them at break neck speeds over all the snow packed roads. Maybe the miracle in this story is that no one was ever seriously injured or killed.

Well, one year, a week or two before Christmas, Dangerous and Utah were bouncing the kids along behind the truck when the Forest Service stopped them. You'd think a federal officer would be interested in protecting seven vulnerable children, but he wasn't. He thought Dangerous and Utah were on the mountain poaching Christmas trees. After a long conversation, they agreed to buy a Christmas tree permit to avoid any further suspicion. Even though neither one of them wanted a fresh cut tree, Utah wasn't going to waste the ten bucks he paid for the permit. So, the hunt for the perfect tree was on.

After a lengthy search, the two of them came up empty. Neither one was able to find a tree that met their exacting specifications. As you can probably guess, the Dixie National Forest is covered with millions of trees, but as usual, these two guys couldn't agree on one to cut and take home.

After a long argument, they decided to continue the hunt. They decided to split up so they could broaden their search, but I suspect it was to avoid further disagreement. Utah dropped Dangerous off on a snow covered dirt road, while he continued with the kids on the main track. They met back at the junction a short time later each with great news. They both had found the perfect tree.

Dangerous jumped in the truck, so they could quickly check Utah's find. Utah quickly drove back to the spot where he had parked, and they followed his tracks back to his perfect tree. Utah had located a beautifully shaped pinion pine just the right height. Well you are right to think the search was over, but the argument hadn't ended. Dangerous immediately wanted to know what kind of scam Utah was trying to pull, because he claimed they were looking at exactly the same tree he found on his own earlier. Needless to say, Utah thought Dangerous was trying to take credit for his find and pointed out to him that they had followed his tracks to the tree from where he had parked the truck. Without hesitation, Dangerous pointed out his own boot prints on the other side of the tree. Call it divine intervention or whatever you want, but the two of them had finally agreed on a tree even though they both found it while searching alone.

One of Four Miracle Trees

How about sharing a Christmas story with me? After hanging out with Dangerous or should I say Scrooge all the time I need something uplifting. Merry Christmas, and I always love to hear from you!


Gloria said...

Good story!

The Barratt Fam said...

Great post... while john and I read this story to preston all he could say is, "I really need to have a look at dougs train."
We love you and hope you having a great week,

Max said...

Though he's no longer with us, I remember quite well that Christmas was my Dad's favorite holiday. Every year he spent hour upon hour stringing lights, making reindeer out of logs and sticks, finding the right tree, placing ornaments, and generally being sure some family in the future named Griswold had nothing on him. However, my most unusual memory of those grand times was the year he had added a new fireplace to the old family home. It was going to be the first Christmas we would actually have a place to hang our "stockings with care" and have a nice cup of hot chocolate by the fire. What Dad failed to consider was the unpredictability of a southern winter. On Christmas day it was 80 degrees outside. Did that stop ole Dad? Not on your life. We sat around a blazing hickory fire in our shorts with the windows and doors open and drank some of the best hot chocolate Mom ever made! What fun we had. It was a Christmas to be remembered...