Saturday, December 24, 2011

Free Range Christmas Trees

All my life I have been attracted to anything with the price tag of “free” and Christmas trees are no exception. During the 1970s my first husband, Lindy and I use to hunt for the best “free” tree in Cleveland county Oklahoma. The trees we found were too big, too bushy and flat out ugly. We did not begin to have enough decorations to make the tree look right, but the price was right, the tree was FREE.
Mary, me with our FREE Cleveland County Oklahoma Christmas Tree-1972
When I married my Alaska husband Joe in 1982, I truly believed that despite living my Alaska dream, we needed to carry on this tradition of something for nothing. The FREE ugly Christmas tree was part of the picture. Our first Christmas together, Joe and I went south on the Seward Highway to Indian, where this part Cherokee felt right at home. We hiked through the snow to an “open tree cutting area” and found the best free tree to take and decorate. It was a bit scrawny, but in retrospect I think it was much better looking than it’s Oklahoma Christmas tree cousin ten years earlier in 1972. Our live Alaska tree wasn’t perfect.  In some ways it left me wishing we'd put up the one and only fake snow covered tree I ever owned and still do. The 40 inch artificial snow covered tree was bought at B & J Hardware in Anchorage for $16.95 in 1980.  I still have the box that it came in, so I know.  It was purchased in celebration and preparation of my sister Angie's Christmas visit after my near fatal car accident.
These days I have given up on free live trees. I usually settle for several mini metal ones instead. I keep my all time favorite fake snowed covered tree in its box in the crawl space, just in case I get that urge for another Freebie live Christmas tree. It can take its place and this year it did just that.  For the first time in 9 years we put up our old friend, the memory tree.  It waited patiently in its box for us to heal from our adoption fiasco and now is bringing joy to us at Christmas once again.   

old Christmas tree friend
64th birthday - flowers from Angie

Alaska Mary’s Christmas Memoir - December 18, 2012

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