Christmas is almost here which meant that it was time to get a tree.
The Sweetie and I decided to stroll a few blocks to the church where the boy scouts sell Christmas trees. Since The Sweetie is still suffering with his bulging disc there was some discussion of how we would get the tree home. “Christmas trees are light,” I assured him. “I can carry it. It’s not far. It’ll be a piece of cake.” My memories of Christmas trees past involve the two of us merrily carrying the tree together, practically skipping. Last year I posed for a photo with the tree hoisted over my head like a mighty lumberjack.
Little did I know that we would choose a tree with a weight problem. It didn’t seem that big when we selected it, but I began to totter under its weight when I attempted to lift it.
“What the hell is going on?” I panted. “This thing weighs a tonne!”
“Put it on your shoulder. Crouch down like a football player and lift with your legs,” The Sweetie suggested. Once I got it up I immediately started tilting. A pine needle poked me in the eye.
“There must be something living in it,” I gasped. I put the tree back on the sidewalk and hugged it in front of me, trying to hoist it a few inches from the ground while shuffling.
“That doesn’t seem to be working,” The Sweetie murmured.
“I’m fine!” I snapped.
“Let me take an end. I can’t watch this,” The Sweetie said.
“Back off the Christmas tree!” I yelled. “You can’t injure your back any further. I can do it”
A flood of expletives followed when I tripped and fell forward. How do people steal television sets and run down the street with them I wondered. I’d be caught immediately.
“Maybe you should walk ahead or behind me so that your manhood isn’t compromised,” I suggested after we passed a couple giving us a strange look.
“I’m staying,” The Sweetie said grimly.
I was in a full sweat at this point. The house felt so far away. I had to stop every few steps to readjust. “Careful with it, your losing a lot of needles,” The Sweetie offered. I had needles in my hair and sap on my hands and jacket. I spat a needle out of my mouth.
“Umm, maybe you should have worn practical shoes?” The Sweetie remarked. I was wearing shoes with a heel, thinking I would look cute and festive. Now the clickety clack of my shoes sounded like an affront, mocking me as I took wobbly, mincing steps.
“Almost there,” I hissed.
A car pulled up next to us and a man stuck his head out the window, “Shouldn’t he be doing that?” he called to me. Funny that it was okay for him to heckle but he didn’t bother to offer a helping hand. I gave him my best Scrooge stink eye, muttering to myself and stared straight ahead.
Somehow we made it home and I leaned the tree against our back door. “That’s it, I can’t go any further,” I huffed.“It can stay outside for the night. I can’t even look at the damn thing right now.” I was soaked with sweat and sap. Pine needles were in my hair. My hands were shaking. I hated my clickety-clack shoes.
That evening I was in the kitchen when I heard voices in the driveway. I knew the neighbours were away. Maybe some thieves are finally stealing that lumber the neighbours have had out back, I mused and continued washing the dishes. Then it occurred to me, “What if they are stealing the Christmas tree! I’ll be damned if someone takes our tree after all I’ve been through with lugging it home.” I don’t know how I planned to wrestle a tree from thieves. My arms were already achy from the exertion of carrying the tree but I was determined to fight to the bitter end if necessary. It turned out it was our neighbour’s son who seemed a little startled by my snarling face on the porch. The Christmas tree was safe.
The tree is now sitting in its stand in the living room. It is quite wide and bushy. It makes sense that it was so heavy. I figure another couple of days and I will be able to lift my arms again so that I can decorate it. Then it will look glorious and proud and the struggle will have been worthwhile.