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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Making a short story long

It all started when my antique dining room table caught on fire. I've always loved candles and have many tapers and many candle holders. Christmas always seems like the time to use them. While entertaining one evening, I ignored the first rule of candle burning--do not leave candles unattended. While my guests were enjoying a nice evening in the living room, I happened to walk past the dining room, only to see one lit candle had fallen out of the holder, caught the tablecloth on fire and my dining room table was charring in one area. Not wanting to make a scene and interrupt my guests, I quickly put the fire out.....with my hands. Not the smartest move I've ever made. Shortly thereafter, my friend, Janet, gave me a set of battery operated pillar candles. Newfangled at the time, I reluctantly promised to give up real candles and soon had purchased lots of fake candles, progressing to scented ones on timers. So, real was replaced with artificial.
This year, BFF, Paulette, posed the heretical question, Is it time to buy an artificial tree instead of a live one this year? I posed the question on Facebook and the results are 7 to 1 in favor of the real tree.
This exceeds the 3 to 1 statistic cited by the National Tree Growers Association! I've always been a staunch real tree supporter. The photo below is me at age 2 with my beloved Aunt Marj in front of our live tree in Erie. Actually, I'm not sure they had artificial trees in 1956, but, I digress. I purchased my own  real tree in in 1974 and have had one ever since, Mostly at 9.5 feet.( For many years, I remember the cost was  $40, but, they are now $150).

Ron and I have been watching old TV Christmas shows this week and the live tree is the focus of most of the shows.  Lucy gets a real tree for $5 and then trims it to nothing and has to get another one! On the Brady Bunch, the kids drag the real tree from one area to another and back again while Mrs. Brady decides on the best location for the tree. In an episode of  The Andy Griffith Show, Aunt Bee has a tree put in each jail cell. (Note to younger readers, these are TV shows from the 60's)

Paulie and I actually did buy  real trees, from Costco last week. They are Frasier Firs -- $29.95! We stuffed both  into her van.  first treeThey were the first trees we have ever purchased sight unseen. No looking at every angle, just  tossed out of the semi truck.
They turned out to be really, really sweet! However, having added Allie to our family recently, I wasn't sure how a kitten would react around a real tree and I thought I might leave tree on the porch.  That is what started the artificial tree dilemma. I kept remembering the cat scene in Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation when the cat gets electrocuted. (Photo below is of the two Costco trees stuffed in Paulie's van)
So, that is when  we started discussing the taboo subject of purchasing a artificial tree. To be fair, Paulie was proposing that the primary large tree would be artificial and a smaller tree would be real. I can't tell you how long we debated the merits of such a plan. We debated it for an hour at the store, while seated in front of the trees. The store manager came over and offered us coffee or tea. We said we needed a drink. The manager listed the merits of the artificial tree, but admitted she has a real one and gets the artificial tree out for her elderly mother. That didn't go over well. So, we ended the discussion for the evening and continued the debate all through the night. Really. We each spent most of the night awake, thinking about the pros and cons of real vs. fake. Early yesterday morning, I got up and posted the question on Facebook. As we drove back to Costco at 8am on Saturday morning, to look at THEIR fake trees, we read the Facebook responses and really liked Tim's suggestion of getting an artificial tree and interspersing it with live branches! After an hour spent looking at the fake tree (really, we did) we left....SANS tree. We laughed most of the way home and decided our 5 hour wasted trip was really quite fun.

By now it was nearly 1pm and we headed back to  the look at the artificial tree from the previous evening AGAIN. No decision, just more debate, and plenty of laughter, too. Taking a break for a few hours to run some more errands, we traveled on to a second store, and were delighted to see they  offered wine! (see Paulie's wine glass on the counter) She was in the process of  purchasing a really small artificial tree for another location in her home! Thus, still delaying our bigger, and more costly decision.
(It's the little tree on the left and it was half price, too). Still, not having made up our minds, we headed back again to store number one. This time the owner, John Corso, recouped the sale by mentioning that the purchase  didn't need to be a life long commitment. We could always decide not to use the tree one year in favor of a real tree (which he also sells). Actually, that did it. We decided to end the debate and  each get the 9 foot artificial tree for our living rooms and use the 7 foot real Fraser Firs in our back parlors. Paulie observed that it must have been the right decision as our fake trees were loaded into her van by an employee named Jesus. (pronounced, HeySoos) By now it was 6pm we'd been debating  tree dilemma for more than 10 hours!!!!  Heading back to my house for more liquid refreshment, we persuaded Ron to assemble one of the monster trees.
It actually went together quite easily and we called Bob to come see what he would be assembling at their house. Today, we'll be decorating all 4 trees, photos to follow in a later post. Having large Victorian homes does allow us the luxury of having enought space for more than one tree, but, I'm still not sure how Allie is going to adapt. Last year, as Kate was still a young pup, I placed the real tree on a table to eliminate the temptation of drinking the tree water. The tree looked so silly on the table, we abandoned the idea and hoped for the best. End of story.....for now.