Monday, December 8, 2008
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is going out to find and cut our tree. It's a tradition that Dan started years ago. There have been years when we opted to go to a local tree lot or (to his chagrin) pulled out the artificial tree that we've always had "just in case". But, for the most part, we've enjoyed having a "real" tree and it's created some great memories throughout the years. Before we head out, the first order of business is to put on a crock pot filled with chili or spaghetti sauce. After the long drive and a cold walk in the woods, it will be much appreciated by the hungry crew -- and by the cook:) Our hunt for the perfect Christmas tree has taken us through some of the prettiest forests in Colorado. For a number 0f years, we depended on my brother, Mark, to be our guide. He had access to secluded locations with beautiful treesk and were so remote that getting there was more of an adventure than acquiring the tree. One year we rode in on horseback. What fun it was, in some spots the horses were chest deep in snow. Another year, we took snow mobiles. That was the year a soon-to-be daughter-in-law lost Grandma off the back of her sled. Thankfully, the snow was soft and Grandma had a great sense of humor. As the years went by, we sometimes wondered, for whom are we creating the memories? One cold, cold day, we loaded up the kids in the back of our Expedition, with a cousin or two riding along. They all got caught up playing a card game, so when we arrived at the tree cutting site, they encouraged us to go on and look, they'd be along soon. Mark, Dan and I trudged through the forest, found a tree, chopped it down, and had it tied to the top of the Expedition . . .and the kids never got out of the vehicle. "Did you get a good one?" they asked, never looking up from their game, and by this time deep in the snacks and hot chocolate. The past couple of years we've found some beautiful trees in one of our National Forests. This year, we missed having Joe along, but created some new memories with Luke driving for the first time and getting to do a bit of four-wheeling on the road through the forest. We found the perfect tree. Amazing how each year, the trees just get better and better. And every year, we're more and more relieved to get back to the truck for the hot chocolate and snacks that await us. And, of course, there's nothing like riding home in a tangle of stocking feet and wet dog.