Mountain Family: A-hunting we will go in Eagle County
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” I’m not a big fan of all the hoo-haw that surrounds Christmas. Which means it was only natural I’d marry into a family that’s just mad about the holiday.
I was a happy, happy man a few years ago when I talked the Love of My Life into the purchase of a small artificial tree, a feat I managed to pull off by getting a week’s vacation between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Since we’d be on the road, there’d be no one to take care of a real tree, and my darling’s fear of some sort of tree-related calamity won out over her objections to hanging ornaments from a plastic facsimile of a real tree.
This year, though, the Love of My Life and the Apple of My Eye said they wanted a real tree. And when I mentioned getting a permit to go cut one out of the forest, our daughter leapt at the chance.
I’d managed to go more than 15 years without a cut-your-own adventure, thanks to finding an already-cut tree at the end of a cold, wet and progressively more aggravating afternoon lo those many years ago. But, as most dads know, we’ll put up with a lot for our little girls, so last weekend we found our little tree saw, bundled up and pointed the truck up Gypsum Creek.
We found a clump of evergreens and the girls headed uphill, soon shouting, “Bring the saw over here!”
Now, most cut-your-own trees look at least a little like the sorry shrub in “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and this was no different. And, surrounded by zillions of other trees, it didn’t look too bad ” and it was the one the girls had picked ” so I sawed the thing down.
Dragging it back to the truck, the tree started looking a little scraggly, even by Charlie Brown standards, but we tied it on and headed home.
Once at the house, with the tree sitting in a bucket on the front deck, the Love of My Life looked at it, frowned and said, “It looks pretty scrawny.”
And it was scrawny. In fact, we had labored and brought home … a bough. Unlike the bough in the lullaby, though, this one wouldn’t hold a doll’s cradle, and it would bend in half long before it broke.
So, with the Apple of My Eye away at a sleepover, we headed out Sunday morning to the Garden Center of Gypsum for something a little more tree-like. And so this year we have a sap-oozing, water-requiring tree sitting in the living room. But it looks and smells lovely, the cat hasn’t tried to climb it (yet) and the dog so far has shown no interest in lifting his leg on it.
And I’m probably off the hook for tree-hunting for another 15 years.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott N. Miller is trying to figure out how to get the tree sap
out of the gloves he used to wear while riding his motorcycle.