Christmas Tree

Christmas tree: (n) a decorated tree at Yuletide

“If you want a tree, go get it yourself.”

That’s what my dad said when I was fourteen years old and asked him why we had not put up our tree as of yet, at Christmastime.

Normally the practice was to pick a tree and decorate it on my birthday–one week before Christmas. But for some reason, December 20th had rolled around and nobody had even mentioned getting one.

I was offended, disrupted, angry, bewildered, uncertain, out-of-spirits and generally and profoundly rebellious, in the most adolescent way possible.

So I complained. That’s what I knew how to do.

Since I had asked at least a half a dozen times about the tree, I felt it was time for me to object. he option provided for me by my dad was to go get a tree myself.

This was plausible because our family owned a little farm outside the town, where we grew some Christmas trees. So I had my brother drive me out to the location, grabbed a little hatchet and headed off through the snowy ground to bag myself an evergreen.

With my chubby legs and being severely out of shape, I was completely exhausted from the walk to the pines–ready to give up on my mission. After all, it wasn’t my fault. I was not in charge. If the damn family didn’t want a tree, then we should be treeless.

But the problem was, that included me–and I didn’t want to be treeless.

So braving the cold, little hatchet in hand, I found what I thought would be a good tree and began to whack at the trunk.

My hatchet had obviously been purchased by Davy Crockett when he went to the Alamo and not sharpened since. The first three strikes at the tree trunk didn’t even split the bark. So as not to bore you, I will shorten this story by telling you that an hour later, sweat pouring off my face, I finally got the tree to give up its roots and prepare to move to my home.

The trunk was an absolute mess. It was not a cut, but rather a massacre. But I drug it out, my brother and I put it on top of the car, and we drove it to the house. He kindly helped me saw the bottom off to make it even so we could put it into the Christmas tree stand. To add insult to my effort, it ended up being too tall. We had to cut off part of the top.

But eventually it sat in our living room, waiting to be adorned.

That evening when my father returned from working at his loan company, he stepped into the house, looked at the tree, and said to me, “Is that the best tree you could get?”

I didn’t respond to him directly, but in my mind I thought, “Yes. It’s the best tree I could get. Because this year it’s my tree.”



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Bundle: (n) a collection of things, or a quantity of material, tied or wrapped up together.

I only lasted one day on the job. I got confused on what to do, so ended up quitting.

It was a lumber company.

Since I was the newbie, the manager asked me to go out back and find pieces of scrap wood which were about the same length, and bundle them together, tie them off and place them in a pile near the wood shop.

I understood the assignment–at least, I thought I did. But when he returned and I was ready for praise, he immediately began to un-bundle my pieces of wood, explaining that I had put pine in with oak and press board with walnut.

I bungled my bundling.

He had another rule–one which he understood and I didn’t, because after all, it was my first day. He was a little disgusted that I couldn’t tell the difference by texture and color. I thought the only distinction was supposed to be length.

I was wrong.

Truthfully, I run across the same problem every day as I am instructed by society to bundle up people into groups. At first, I thought the only way I was supposed to set them apart was, “These are the nice ones that can be treated nicely and respond well, and these are the meaner ones which require being treated even nicer.”

But they keep changing the rules.

They’ve introduced culture, color, sexual preference, gender, age, political persuasion and religion.

So there’s never really any way to get things bundled. There are too many considerations to adequately discern what should go together and what should be separated.

Bundling is the way we try to put things that are similar into one unit.

But of course, if we don’t accept the fact that similarity is possible, we will just end up being scattered wood.

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