Monday, December 05, 2005
The tree is up. What else matters? GF decided on Friday that the tree had to be hunted down. I think she imagined that Saturday would be some sort of Tree Rush day. So to beat the rush, off to Home Depot, site of last year's tree. Last year's tree was reasonably priced (35 bucks or so) but died within two weeks and proved to have been painted to cover brown tendencies. This year, although many cars with trees strapped to their roofs could be seen on many streets, Home Depot hadn't yet gotten its act together. Its gates were closed, its trees were all bound up, and there was almost no help to be had binding and tying up the tree of one's dreams. After fruitlessly walking up and down several aisles, trying to imagine what various trees looked like inside their net stockings, gf and I gave up and drove home. It was bitter cold. She was cross. It wasn't working.
Next day was much nicer. We decided to try again, this time closer to home. So much closer to home, as a matter of fact, that the temptation to go out to lunch first and have a beer could not be avoided. As we ate it began to snow. By the time we emerged on our errand once more, the streets were truly festive. We went to the garden store down the street, one with what I have always thought of as an unfortunate choice of name--Gethsemane. Why in the world would someone name their garden store that? Doesn't that name alone suggest that someone could get their ear cut off by your bird bath? Or that your backyard barbeque guests will claim not to know you?
I warned gf that this store tended to be pricey, and that we could pay as much as double Home Depot's price for a tree. I wish.
The trees we were shown started at 65 dollars. GF wanted a tall tree. I wanted a fat tree. The trees got taller and fatter. 85 dollars worth, and still not fat enough for me. At last, I saw it. The tallest, fattest tree of my dreams. Ten feet worth of tall, and 100 dollars worth of fat. We looked at each other. It seemed a ridiculous price to pay for a tree. But it smelled wonderful, like the forests where I'm from, and where my family will gather this Christmas without me. Its Frazier Fir needles were firm, soft, and blue. When I held it, I got sap all over my hands.
GF eyed me. "You like it?" she asked. "It's too much money," I answered, nodding my head yes. "You got it," she said, all five-foot two of her lipstick femme self. "Wrap it up." She added that at that price there probably wouldn't be much to put under it, so she hoped I was happy. I was.
And so in this season as we wait for the MLA interviews that may never come, and spend the holidays apart from family because of the possibility of MLA interviews that may never come, and wait to hear from law schools that may say no, and apply for adjunct sections, two of which pay as much or less than unemployment, we sit at the feet of our tree, surrounded by our friends (and maybe a roast chicken or two), and celebrate its fragrant greenness in the midst of winter, and its bright lights in a season of early darkness. Good luck to everybody on the market, and everybody hoping not to have to go on the market, and good cheer, and good friendships. May your trees be the tallest and fattest of trees, and may the many lights on them remind you that brighter days are just around the corner.