It's been a few years since I went hunting for a live Christmas tree. My sweetheart has an enormous, very nice fake tree that he'd used for years and it's offered itself each year for the past five. But last year, when it shed more needles than a real tree would, its time was declared over.
This year we are getting a live tree.
"It's got to be Scotch Pine," I was informed.
"That's okay - I agree."
But I told him there would be a hitch - Scotch Pines are out of fashion. Everyone wants Douglas or Frasier firs. We might find some old fashioned Balsams. But I suspected there would be no Scotch Pines. He scoffed.
He's not scoffing now. We stopped at any number of places, small tree farms hidden miles into territory we'd never explored and big box home stores and things in between - no Scotch Pines.
"They don't hold their needles," we were told. "Last time we stocked 'em, some people tried to bring 'em back. So we decided not to sell them anymore."
That's quite a mental image - a family ripping the decorations off their tree, tying it to the roof of the car and carrying it back to the seller, demanding a refund as the poor tree's needles dropped.
My dad had visions of being a Christmas tree farmer. When I was about ten we planted three hundred Scotch pine seedlings in the back field at the rural property we had in Central NY. Years later, my then-husband and I went back with our baby boy (now 23) and cut down one of the massive trees they'd become - we took the top home and it was a wonderful Christmas tree. It seemed right that one of those trees became a Christmas tree - and the rest became an incredible pine forest full of unruly, unshaped and gorgeous tall trees.
I like the idea of a live tree this year, but have no place to plant it that seems to work.
I'd decorate the cedar tree outside my window. The cedar's a lovely thing. I'd fall off the roof.
My heart goes out to the Charlie Brown trees - the lonely little trees that don't get chosen by anyone else. I suspect that if we can't find a Scotch Pine, that will be what we choose.
But isn't it strange that things simply disappear as tastes change? No more Scotch Pines - and no one said a word. They just stopped being sold.
Writer, journalist, house junkie and Pollyanna.
Maybe there's something to this astrology stuff: Geminis have a little trouble focusing on one thing.
I also very occasionally post some of my dad's writings on a companion blog, Alfred C. Barnett. Stop by for a read.