Monday, December 8, 2008

The Christmas Tree Hunt

One of our favorite holiday traditions is what we've come to call the "Christmas Tree Hunt". Every year in early December, we drive all the way up to Waldoboro, Maine, to cut down our Christmas tree. We stumbled onto Scott's tree farm about 20 years ago and have been going back ever since. Scott's two sons were little when we started cutting trees there and now they are grown...time passes so fast. Over the years, many people have gone on "the hunt" with us; Nancy and Aaron joined us for many years and now our grandsons, Robert and Brian, come along.
The day is always the same: We start at Mr. Bagel in Yarmouth for coffee and bagels for the road and then ride as far as Wiscasset, where we make our first stop at Big Al's, a uniquely Maine salvage store where it is difficult to find an item that costs more that $.88 (or $1.88 if it's a big item). We gave the boys $3.00 each and let them go in search of bargains while we warmed up and picked up a few stocking-stuffers. And then it was on to Scott's tree farm...
Saturday was a perfect day to hike over the hill and through the woods to Scott's field of balsams; it was sunny with no wind. Over the years, we have been there when the snow was up to our knees, when it has been raining and we've had to tromp through mud to get to the trees, and when it has been so cold that we've had to keep hiking back to the car to warm up. After about an hour of searching, debating, and narrowing down the choices - we found the perfect tree. Robert and Brian took turns with the saw and then, before we even had time to yell our traditional "Tim..ber!", it fell down right on top of them! Scott's sons loaded it on the tractor and we headed back up the hill to tie it on the car.
Once the tree is safely tied down, Hank and I break out the Bailey's for a toast and then we all all go to Moody's Diner for lunch. Moody's is a Maine landmark and still serves old fashioned diner fare with homemade biscuits and pies. It's the perfect place to warm up after cutting the tree.
On the way home from Waldoboro, we stopped in Damariscotta so that the boys could Christmas shop for their parents. Damariscotta is a beautiful coastal town and the money the boys save up each year goes a long way at Reny's, another uniquely Maine shopping adventure, housed in what used to be the old 5 & 10. While Robert and Brian shopped, I enjoyed walking through the old store with it's wooden floors, uneven stairs to the lower level, and glass cases. It brought back memories of going to the 5 & 10 in Hartford with Grammy Smith as a kid - it even had the same smell. The "sleigh" full of gifts and the roof covered with balsam, we headed home. Hank and the boys were singing Christmas Carols and, as I drifted off to sleep in the car ("taking the short way home" Daddy used to say), I thought about how lucky I was, in spite of all life's challenges, to have had this perfect day.

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