Somewhere Between Charlie Brown and Clark Griswold

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.

Mommy, Anna, and Zach. We had the sled to drag Zach in and drag the tree out. We decided to leave the sled as the terrain was rough. I left it under the truck and drove off with it still there.

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.

Anna is hiding under her blanket, under her snow suit, under her footies, and under her onesie.

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.

About Jimmy

The stories herein are about a sentimental 80s child who cried at every showing of ET (the sad part where he was lying in the wash) and his families, then and now. His wife, son, parents, and siblings play their parts well. They have their exits and their entrances. Sometimes their exits are sad, but not as sad as ET.
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6 Responses to Somewhere Between Charlie Brown and Clark Griswold

  1. inkline says:

    I just finished eating my 9:47pm leftover Thanksgiving meal snack.
    And I remembered something as I read your story about our day together:
    I almost made us stop looking for the “Christmas tree cutting spot”…and I was the one to spot the sign that kept us there and took us to The Tree. I was almost a party-smasher.
    And I remembered…At least once when we were little Dad took the family out to cut down our own tree from the woods in MN, some state land with a permit. I remember dragging my snow-booted feet and wishing I was at home and that we would get this job done with as soon as possible, and, in general, sporting an attitude that must have made it sort of annoying for the rest of the family.
    We had a good time today. Even though I was pushing us to get it done as quickly as possible. But this time it was for the babies. 🙂 Our babies.

  2. Maxi says:

    Omg, can’t believe how big Zach is now. Being a Florida girl, gotta tell ya it makes me cold just to look at all that snow. Brrrr!
    Blessings ~ Maxi

  3. Dianna says:

    It was fun to read about your Christmas Tree hunting. I wondered last week how you and your family were, Jimmy! Glad to “hear from you” again.
    And yes, the cold conveys through your pictures.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  4. Fay Moore says:

    I love it that there is still somewhere in the USA where you can simply walk into the woods and cut a Charlie Brown tree without getting sued, ticketed, arrested or fined.

  5. The first few years after Hubby and I got married, we’d head out to a tree farm and cut down our own tree. It was exhilarating, but we often found we’d have to cut down a much larger tree than we needed to use the top. It seemed a waste so we decided just to buy one from a lot…until we bought our first artificial tree. It’s certainly not the same as real, but it is aesthetically pleasing and doesn’t need to be watered. I hope your kids will remember the experience with as much fondness as you will. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Foraging Ahead | Stories About My Life, 92% True

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