Do You Want To Go Somewhere Else?

After a few weeks’ anticipation, we all piled into the car to get a Christmas tree. It was snowing steadily but the roads were clear, so we drove half an hour to the cut-your-own farm, playing games and singing carols.

But when we got to the farm, it was closed.

While we looked up nearby tree farms on our iPhones, Dylan took Xena for a quick run in the snow. A few other cars pulled up while we were there; we were all stupefied as to why the farm was closed.

Still, we needed a tree. “There’s a place 22 miles from here that has white pines!” I said. I’ve had a white pine for Christmas every year for 50 years. “Is that too far? It closes and it gets dark at 5:00!”

“No, that’s not too far,” Bill said. “We have two and a half hours!”

So off we went – except… “There’s a place right here!” Bill said.

“They don’t have white pines,” I told him, having already checked the internet for our go-to tree. “But if you feel strongly about it, you can drive that extra mile and ask!”

We pulled into the parking lot of Farm #2 and piled out. While Bill talked to staff, the kids, dog and I were tromping merrily around in the snow and taking pictures.

Bill appeared at my side. “They don’t even have fraser firs,” he said. “Do you care?”

“No,” I said. “I honestly don’t care at all.” The kids were already running through the tree aisles. Xena was gathering serious snow balls on her paws.

But Bill looked slightly crushed.

“Do you want to go somewhere else?” I asked him. For 17 years, he’s wanted to get a different kind of tree.

But… Bill nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “They just don’t have a lot here.”

We drove two miles, and another tree farm sign popped up. “Let’s try this one!” Bill said.

“They don’t have white pines,” I told him. But Bill does not do things the way I do them.

We pulled into Farm #3, and I jumped out to “ask” if they had white pines. Surprise! They did not.

They also did not have the concolor firs that Bill said he wanted.

We still had 22 miles to go.

We got to Farm #4 at nearly 4:00.

“White pines?” the tree guy said. “Oh those are waaaaaay over that hill there!” He pointed to the horizon. “WAY over the hill!”

We trudged more than a mile uphill. By then, Xena was frozen and shaking. There wasn’t a white pine in sight – unless you count the 40-foot ones. So we continued to trudge. Later we learned that the farm was 120 acres – and we traversed 110 of those acres. We never found a white pine.

Just before 5:00, we cut down a concolor fir.

We dragged it back to the car, thawed the dog’s very frozen paws and gave her my coat to keep her warm.

We piled into the car with nary a sip of the hot cocoa we get at our usual farm. Kids threw their wet coats and boots onto the floor, and we discovered that the roads were now snow-covered and slick, since the sun was going down.

We inched down the highway, and stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. We bought fried chicken tenders (at a gas station). We still had an hour’s drive home.

We treated our dog to nearly a whole chicken tender of her own, as a reward for surviving. She was snoring at my feet an hour later.

It was a very, very big day.

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