Having been married since God made dirt I can honestly say we've been through lots of hills and valleys, but working together we've pretty much been able to handle our challenges -- some of which occurred over Christmas trees.
One year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we set out to cut down our tree at a farm we'd frequented for a few years. It hadn't occurred to either of us that they would not yet be open, but the owner took pity on us and said we could go onto the farm and cut down our tree, but he wouldn't be able to provide the tractor to carry it out. "No problem!", we said and joyously grabbed our hand saw and began our trek over the hills of the spacious tree farm.
We saw many trees that were beautifully shaped and full, but I needed to see them all. About forty-five minutes later we found it: a Douglas fir appearing about about nine feet tall, beautifully shaped, and nicely full. Richard spread his jacket down on the ground, lay down on it and began sawing. My job was to grab the tree and provide weight against the cut. "Hon," I said after what seemed a long time, "Are you okay?" Richard was still sawing. "Kath," he said breathlessly, "I think we've got a little problem -- this thing has a double trunk. It may not fit in the tree stand, but I guess we'll deal with that later." Once you begin cutting a tree down, you just can't decided to abort it and go on to another tree; the die is cast. So we continued.
When I apply pressure, it helps with the felling of the tree. Richard saws, I pull, and the tree falls to the ground with a little thump. This time however, I could tell by the 'give' that it was cut, but there was no falling; no 'thump.' It stood, cut, almost straight up. "Uh oh," we said simultaneously.
We tried to pick it up. Usually I grab the trunk and Richard grabs the tree higher up. We were having trouble lifting it off the ground. (I should probably mention here that at this point we realized two things: this part of the farm was extremely hilly which does not allow for an accurate depiction of the size of a tree (girth and height); and two, we were at the farthest point of the property.) We tried again and again; the tree wasn't budging.
We were the only people out there. Extraordinary occasions call for extraordinary means. Richard stayed with the tree and I went back for the car, a Grand Cherokee with 4-wheel drive.
Doing some fancy driving, I was able to get to about 20 feet where Richard stood with the behemoth. Together we dragged it to the car realizing neither of us, separately or together, could lift it onto the top. I got into the back of the Jeep, Richard lay back on the ground, lifted the trunk with his legs while I pulled it as hard as I could into the car. I got it partially in, Richard climbed in beside me and pulled it the rest of the way. We had to leave the back of the Jeep open so we wouldn't chop off the top two feet of the tree (which in retrospect, might have been a blessing). We got into our respective seats with the double trunk of the tree between us, resting on the dash board. From the back, the green Cherokee looked like a snake that had eaten a huge prey it was unable to swallow.
We drove up to the owner's house, paid for our tree and then began the 45 minute-ride home. And then it hit me. "How are we going to get this thing out of the car without ripping off the branches?" I called to him over the trunk, " It's facing the wrong way." Silence.
Richard is resourceful. He wrapped a blanket around the tree and slid it out of the car onto the driveway. It took three neighbors to get it into the house and about 20 strands of lights to cover it. It was a gorgeous tree.
- I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.