Resolving Timeline Issues

A perfect tree?

Posted on: December 13, 2008

I was sitting here thinking I should really post something a little more Christmas-like and came across a post talking about the perfect Christmas tree.

My story is nowhere near as heroic as this one, or as kind and gentle as this one, it is rather more humourous, although not quite so humourous as this one.

I have told anecdotes about my dad in the past, most recently a conversation involving 4 inch foam and how I they brought me home from the hospital. My dad is a practical sort. Inventive. Frugal. Combine practical + frugal + inventive and you get some pretty interesting solutions to problems. Like the Christmas tree.

When I was 12, my old cat died at the age of 22. We got a kitten a bit later (who is now 20 or so). We named her Missy. It was short for Mischief. It had been about 15 years since my parents had had kittens and I guess they kind of forgot about the whole Christmas tree and kittens thing (see: climbing).

That year, we didn’t have tinsel because the cat might eat it, we got kitten-safe decorations and dad went out to find a tree (see: frugal). Living on Bowen Island, he’d just go out somewhere and chop down a tree (usually a pine under my mother’s orders). That year, he found a nice tree, chopped it down, put it in the usual 5 gallon bucket ‘o dirt (yes, we didn’t have a stand – necessity, mother of invention, frugality, etc) and stood it up. Then mom and I decorated it.

A couple of days later we came home to a downed tree. Dirt and needles everywhere, and a small kitten named Missy looking very pleased with herself. Up until then, she hadn’t tried to climb trees. Period.

Mom was not so pleased. In fact, I’m surprised Missy is now 20 years old. A lot of mom’s ornaments broke that day and she was Not Impressed.

So dad fixed the tree (what, you think he was going to spend the money on gas to go get another one, did you? I said he was frugal) and decided that with the kitten around, he had to secure the tree appropriately. My suggestion was to buy a proper tree stand (yeah, right, see: frugal, above).  He shut the kitten in my bedroom (I didn’t care – I am her human after all) and stood the tree up, plumped it up, grafted some new branches in where needed (he had gotten extras just in case) and refilled the dirt after I vacuumed the carpet.

Oh, a word about the carpet: it was this thick white, wool looped stuff – really tight loops that the kitten loved to dig her claws into. And that pine needles get stuck in. It was also thick enough to hide, say, extra nails you might drive into the floor, just in case you might need to, oh I don’t know, anchor a Christmas tree to the floor?  Below that floor was, well, nothing, really. A crawl space built on bedrock.

So dad stands there and ponders the tree and I swear, I almost saw the lightbulb go on over his head, when he dashed out to his workshop and came back with a hammer, some really big nails and a roll of wire.

And proceeded to string the wire (3 strands) from the tree to nails pounded into the floor.  The carpet was thick enough to hide the nails so rather than pulling the nails, dad would leave them there. When they sold the house years later, the new owners didn’t realize that there were still extra nails in the floor.

I refer to it as the redneck tree.

3 Responses to "A perfect tree?"

Perhaps less of a perfect tree but certainly a more perfect memory. That’s the good stuff!

Great story!

We have a fake tree now. I miss the real thing. It’s just not the same.

Although, on the upside, it does come with its own stand. 😉

Nails in the floor? Never thought of that. In my house we screwed hooks into the walls on either side to cat proof the tree. *note* the tree must Always go in a corner.

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December 2008


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