I never knew about spruces with beautiful symmetrical limbs and soft needles. Cedars are prickly and downright painful to the touch if they dry out. There may have been trees for sale but I never saw any. If anyone had ever suggested that Daddy buy one would have been considered absurd or almost immoral. Daddy and Mama would have both thought the man addled or talking out of his head. Looking back I’m glad we couldn’t afford a bought tree. It would have spoiled everything. That’s because all summer long I appraised and evaluated cedar trees growing in our pasture.
I would find one that looked just the right size and shape, full and rounded. I ran to tell Daddy, “Come and look at the Christmas tree I found.” Daddy followed me into the pasture. Looking at the tree he would walk all around it rubbing his chin. “It’s too big to fit in the living room, Sugar.” It looked perfect to me and replied, “It is? Are you sure?” Daddy was more discerning, “It just looks small enough out here with all these other trees but it’s too big, I can tell.”
So my job continued and once I found one that Daddy approved of I kept my eye on it. I was always afraid of a Christmas tree robber. Some one else might find it and cut it down when I wasn’t on guard. They say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I still admire the old timey Christmas trees and sometimes one will catch my eye. I’m tempted to ditch my pre-lit tree and get a cedar once again. I saw one yesterday that I think is just the right size.
Kaye Ella Steadman lives in Chickamauga. She is a storyteller, published writer and author of the book “The Girl in the Mirror.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook.