Before Christmas, I talked to my brother John. He had to work on the 23rd, and the 26th, and so would only be home two days. I would only be home for three -- three glorious days without work, two of them paid!
My family has suggested cancelling Christmas most years I can remember. There's a lot of work, you know? You have to leave the house and deal with the commercial world, at the most commercial time of year. You have to clean up the living room. You have to purchase presents. Wrapping them? Ha! Christmas trees...can't we just skip the tree this year?
NO, we said, every year. I think my high school boyfriend helped me buy a tree one year. John started going with me. Occasionally, my dad agrees to come along, like we used to do.
This year, I talked to John. Then I talked to my mom. "It's probably not worth it this year."
"I guess you're right," she said. "But I like the tree."
The lights on the tree are my favorite part of Christmas. But why support the death of a tree (albeit one from a tree farm) for only two days of maximum enjoyment and so much griping from my dad? He always has to take the ornaments off it, because John and I are back in Ann Arbor. He hates it.
I was pretty sure it was dead, but I would stick it in the cupholder in Emma's car for the ride home, and it could adorn the coffee table in the living room or something.
(Later confirmed: very, very dead, with such painful little prickles.)
December 23rd came around. We woke up to a sunny morning, and I had no obligations. Just pack and go home. Maybe sample some fancy truffles at the nice cheese and liquor store on the way out of town.
But before Emma and I loaded up her car, before I threw five outfits worth of clothes in a bag -- over-prepared for my three-day trip to cat and dog hair everywhere -- my boyfriend ate his oatmeal, donned his coat, and left my building through the front door.
I rescued it from the curb, and was delighted to find it was a Frasier fir. And not so little, either...
It took up Emma's entire backseat, and the top foot was sticking out the window, the whole ride home on I-94.
When I knocked on the door to my parents' house, Finn barked through the window at me in excitement and my dad came to let us in. Emma claims that he looked horrified to open the door and find her standing there with a surprise tree on her back.
Oh well. All he had to do was trim the bottom and the top and stick it in the stand. I did the lights, and we skipped the ornaments, to make it easier for him to take down later. Pretty good for a free tree, right?
I got two ornaments for Christmas, though:
And there were wrapped presents to open under the tree, and The Hobbit to reread and then watch in the theater as a family, and my Isa-kitten, who treated me fairly well, this time. (Sorry about the pictures in that old post...I think the ones from Facebook aren't working. Rude!)