Alaska is different.
Growing up in Los Angeles, we went to the nearest supermarket parking lot to pick out the perfect tree which was imported from Washington or Oregon and full of thick branches to support our shoddily and lovingly made ornaments.
When we lived in Kansas, there was a windblown tree farm up the road. The trees weren’t as nice as the Los Angeles trees; they leaned and were spray-painted dark Oregon green, but we got to cut them down with a tree farm provided hand saw before a tractor came by to drag it to the entrance.
And now we live in Alaska.
Today, we braved the Black Friday crowds at Lowe’s at 11 a.m. to buy a hand saw and some bungee cords. We bundled the kids up in long-sleeved onesies and snow-clothes. And we drove twenty minutes to the forest.
We parked at the side of a road and hiked in. It was 16 degrees. Zach can’t walk in snow boots and can’t stand up in his snow-suit, so I carried him. Kris carried Anna.
The trees were huge, thirty feet tall with hefty branches. We got about 200 yards from the road and the kids got cold. I had to take my gloves off to adjust Zach’s left mitten that he kept pulling off. The tips of my fingers began to turn red.
We walked another ten or fifteen feet and Kris spotted a patch of three trees that would fit on the roof of our Escape. We asked Zach who pointed and said, “A tee!.” We picked the best of the three trees, an eight footer with branches on three sides, spaced 12-14 inches apart.
I sawed it down.
I picked the tree up with one hand and Zach with the other. Zach squealed at the tree and took off his mitten.
We threw it on the truck and drove home for naps.
It’s a solid tree, lots of ornaments on the branches just out of Zach’s reach. I can sit on one side while my wife sits on the other and I don’t need to strain to see her.
Alaska and 1950s life are good.