THE CHRISTMAS TREE LOT

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A seasonal story of inspiration.

Submitted: November 03, 2006

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Submitted: November 03, 2006

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???????????????????? ?The Christmas Tree Lot

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Tony stamped his feet and blew on his hands trying unsuccessfully to warm up. His old jeans, flannel shirt topped with thick blue hooded sweat shirt and red plaid flannel ear-flapped hat though warm at first was not enough to keep him from shivering now that the crowd had thinned out. He was just keeping his Christmas Tree stand open one more hour just in case someone at the last moment caught the spirit and wanted a real tree instead of one of those plastic horrors. Tony was an old man now, gone to fat and getting slow but he still could get worked up over the whole fake Christmas thing. Almost nothing left to get you warm frorm the inside anymore he thought. Even the greetings seemed to freeze on the lips.Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas seemed to offer the recipient a smorgasbord of possibilities,Chanukah, Kwansa, Christmas or even the ridiculous Festivus dreamed up by a sit-com writer! However the smorgasbord was all cold dishes in Tony’s opinion. His heart warmed to the memory of “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Chistmas Carol”and even better “The Night Before Christmas”.

The tree lot was lit only by a single floodlight and garlands of colored lights. The ice storm that hit only yesterday added a certain sparkle to the scene but was not good for business. It was hard to pick out the best tree when the boughs were all laden with ice that refused to melt. It looked like Tony would not be able to sell the last ten trees. He didn ‘t mind as the rest moved very well up until the storm.

At 11 p.m. as he did every Christmas Eve, Tony looked over the leftovers to select the one that he would bring home to his little ground floor apartment. This year was different in many ways: for one thing he was now living alone . His wife had died many years before and now this year his best friend and buddy Blackie a huge Lab followed. A Christmas Tree needed more life around it Tony thought and for a moment considered going home without a tree…besides the trees that were left were so coated with ice that they would make a serious mess on the floor of his living room…such that it was..when it all melted .

He had to bring one home…that’s all there was to it..he would figure out what to do when he got it home.

So Tony wrestled the tree that seemed about the right size loose from it’s neighbors and slid it into the back of his old pickup truck. He got in and started the truck up to get warm while he turned out the lights and locked up the shed and took the cashbox .

It was a short ride out to the edge of town where Tony has been living. Tony listened to Christmas Carols on the radio and thought about the tree. He hummed and sang along with “The Twelve Days of Christmas” marveling about the fact that although he had heard it hundreds of times he still forgot how many thises or thats did what on which day except for the partridges in the Pear Tree part. With that thought the solution to the problem came to Tony’s mind. He would pour warm water on the boughs until they were free of the ice and stand the tree outside the window of his kitchen. He would make peanut butter and birdseed balls and hang them on the tree! He had some donuts going stale in the breadbox…he would toss them on as well. It wasn’t too late to pop some corn and string it and some cranberries he had in the freezer to drape on the tree for some real color and pizzazz.

Tony finally got to sleep about two a.m….his efforts rewarded by what looked like a tree fit for display in Macy’s window.

Christmas morning Tony awoke to the sounds of birds and the scurry of small animals and the wonderful smell of coffee from his automatic brewing machine. He smiled to himself for a minute before getting his slippers and tying on his warm but well worn flannel bathrobe. He made his way into the kitchen, the sun was streaming in the window by the table and Tony filled his mug and settled down to enjoy the scene.

Before him his tree was alive with chickadees cardinals, snowbirds, nuthatches and more. The ground under the tree was getting packed down by the squirrels doing the clean-up detail.

Tony thought again as he sipped his coffee that his earlier idea was so right. A Christmas Tree needs life around it. Although he knew it was a silly thing to do he toasted the birds and the squirrels with his mug and wished them a Merry Christmas. Tony was a happy man.

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