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The Six-Hour Christmas Tree
By: Chelsea Milam


You wouldn’t think a rainy day would be ideal for Christmas tree shopping. But I had decorated the house by the end of Thanksgiving Night, and I was just too excited to wait. So after an eighteen-count family send-off lunch, off we went. The tree farm was 45 minutes away, so at 2:00PM we settled in for the drive. Our truck pushed weakly through the mud-drenched roads as we neared our destination. We watched the ditches slide closer on the right, then the left, as our two-wheel drive fought to stay alive in the All-Wheel Drive Olympics. Finally we arrived and parked our winded vehicle. 

There was the old man, standing at his usual post, outside of the little wooden three-walled shack, wearing his green Christmas sweatshirt and red hat. The farm looked more like a forest. I drank a lot of water at lunch and my bladder was catching up to me. My guy found a secluded spot and whistled Christmas tunes as I relieved the pressure. Laughing with amused embarrassment, I came out from my tree restroom. He said he should have taken a picture to show the kids “what Mommy was doing to the Christmas tree farm.” We set off to find our perfect tree. Dodging fire ants and stumps, we walked around and around. It began to drizzle after much contemplation, and we realized that our perfect tree was not here. We liked the soft evergreens, and there were few of them; none with qualities we could agree upon. I’m always looking for the eight-foot tree. He’s always looking for the five; total opposites, I tell you. We turned in our handsaw and started the hour trek back to the beach. I think we drove straight through a monsoon. 

We stopped at a place in town and-aside from a fourteen-foot tree I fell in love with-nothing but very muddy sneakers. My Honey’s dirty shoe dilemma influenced my decision to splash him with puddled water. The plan worked as we rekindled our childhood Christmas spirit while splashing each other in the parking lot. Next stop, Hwy. 79 and Back Beach. The tree stands were closed, but I stepped in and explored anyway. We talked about how we were going to hear on the news that someone stole a Christmas tree and the guys observing me stepping over the plastic orange fence were going to describe seeing a dark-haired girl and short -haired guy driving a black truck scoping out trees before the “incident.” 
Two tree stand sneak-abouts later, we ended up at Lowe’s down the road from our house. There we laughed as I attempted to pull big seven-foot trees upright, dancing in circles with the giants until Eddie balanced me out. My guy swore when we have a bigger house he’s going to get his own nice little “normal” tree. I promised I would put my sixteen-foot tree in our high-ceiling entry and he could watch me and the kids dance around it stringing popcorn whilst he put his tiny ornaments on his tiny tree. This got the hoped-for chuckle. We found our perfect tree. 
So our adventure in tree hunting led us a total of one-hundred and twenty miles away round trip to finally discover our Christmas tree one mile from home. Life is ironic. All I can say is that this Christmas will be treasured not because of lower gas prices or lack of video surveillance in the little tree shops or because our tree branches didn’t mold from all the rain…This end to a long year of accomplishments and reawakening will be dear to my heart because I get to spend it with the man I love and my two families. I’ll cherish this Christmas because even though it took us longer than it took to get our tree, we realized that we do have it all-not miles away, but right here at home.
 
~The End~

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The Six-Hour Christmas Tree
By: Chelsea Milam
   
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