Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree!! - Margaret Ullrich

Continued from part 1

I thought I had dressed warmly.  

That fink, the ditzy receptionist, showed up looking like the Michelin Man.  She was ready to march to Thompson if necessary.  So were the three other women co-workers.  The other wives - who all knew better - had begged off.  I was alone with four career women who were full of the 'I am woman, hear me roar' career fever.  While they talked shop I felt as welcome as a lump of coal in a Christmas stocking.  

The Jewish co-workers - who I had hoped would keep the tree hunt frenzy within limits - had turned into lumberjacks.  They were also ready to march to Thompson if necessary.  After walking five minutes I couldn't feel my toes.  
We hadn't even gotten out of the parking lot.  I was doomed. 

I didn't know it could get that cold.  

We marched.  Finally, someone approved of a tree.  The men chopped.  The tree crashed.  The branches that hit the ground broke off the tree.  I said the bare side could be placed against a wall.  The heat from their glares should have restored my circulation.  It didn't.  We marched.  Someone approved of another tree.  
The men chopped.  The tree crashed.  It broke.        

God, it was cold.  

We were doomed to spend all day wandering like Flying Dutchmen on a quest to find the perfect unbreakable tree.  
The lot was littered with other broken felled trees.  Some trees had landed across their comrades in a criss cross pattern that looked like a cradle.  
A cradle, something soft, something to receive and hold... hold it - something to catch a damn tree!  

Nose drip and tears had frozen my mouth shut.  If I'd had the equipment I would've written my idea in the snow.  I slapped my face trying to restore circulation to my lower jaw.  Finally my lips parted.  I clutched Paul's arm.

"Cradle... tree... cradle," I mumbled and criss crossed my arms.  
The women thought I was pregnant and wanted a homemade cradle.  
Thank God, months of marriage and love had united Paul's mind to mine.  Months of marriage had also taught us that Paul was no carpenter so he knew the homemade cradle idea was bunk.  Paul caught on to my pantomime and told the others.  

Someone approved of another tree.  It would land on four broken trees.  
The men chopped.  The tree crashed.  It survived.  We marched.  
Someone approved of another tree.  It, too, survived.  

Christmas was saved.   

God, it was cold.
I didn't know it could get that cold.
Some fool was planning the next year's tree chopping expedition.  

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