“What fun! We’re getting a living Christmas tree,” I told my two wide-eyed children. “We’ll donate it to the church for their landscaping project after the holidays.”
It’s the thought that counts, right?
At least my husband had that thought—the one that scurries ahead of everything else and prompts a plan of action. He hooked up the horse trailer as the rest of us piled into the pickup.
Thought number two should have struck when the nurseryman loaded the tree into our trailer with a forklift. But it didn’t. The elusive realization didn’t hit until we got home and shoved the tree out of the trailer and into a double-handled, galvanized-steel tub. My husband and I could carry the little 5-foot tree inside, right?
The tree wasn’t the problem. It was the 300-pound dirt ball attached to the bottom that we couldn’t drag over the threshold. So we pushed the tub up against the garage and waited for our neighbor’s high school-aged son and friend to haul it inside for us.
Rocco, our Jack Russell terrier, didn’t wait. He figured any unmarked soil on his turf was fair ground and christened the tree into the family when no one was looking.
Later that wintry Colorado evening, the warmth from our woodstove embraced the tree and its burlap-wrapped root, and Rocco’s anointing permeated the front room.
I dashed down the hall like a reindeer on a mission and returned with a can of aerosol pine-scented spray…
We didn’t have the heart to call the neighbor boy to take the tree back outside, so we doused the dirt and tried to hide the burlap beneath a cheery Christmas tree skirt.
Indeed, that year we had a Christmas to remember—complete with homemade gingerbread houses and frosted sugar cookies, clove-studded oranges and hot mulled cider. And doggie, well, you know. Either we grew accustomed to the terrier bouquet, or our smellers simply stopped working.
‘Twas as close to a barn-like, manger-filled Christmas as we’ve ever come. I think Mary and Joseph may have sampled a similar aroma from their hastily-chosen delivery room. Sheep aren’t the most prettily-perfumed animals around.
And yes, it was the thought that counted.
For those of you who read this in my guest post on Fay Lamb's blog, thanks for reading again.