Friday, December 4, 2009

Case Study 38: "The Royal Tannenbaum"

"Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow."

-Robert Frost

For me, the Christmas season never kicked off with pre-Thanksgiving radio repeats or the mingling of Halloween candies with the candy canes in the drugstore aisles. No, for me it always began with a car trip.  We'd bundle up in flannels and down jackets, as Christmases were colder then, and stock the trunk with twine and bungees, an extra saw, and a pocketful of profanities.  After warming our hands by the barrel fires, we'd grab hot ciders for the journey, and set out to farm, with the most glorious un-Charlie Brown fir as our harvest's hope.

"The Royal Tannenbaum" is a light chocolate cupcake with peppermint buttercream branches and pines. Decked out with the finest silver dragées and fresh snowflakes all best trees deserve, it is crowned by a glorious sugar cookie star.

Running past those boring balsams, we'd dash further across the scotch pines, and after hundreds of thousands of kid-measured miles, in the deep heart of the seemingly abandoned woods, we'd find it.   Our royal tannenbaum.  We'd measure it against my brother's ever-changing height, lay down the blanket, and saw. And saw. And after slinging those reserved profanities, and sawing some more, with one glorious crack it would be ours.

Ours to drag back to the car as the sun started to fade into what I  was certain could be Aurora Borealis.  Ours to dig our fingers into, keeping safe grips on our precious catch, as the cold winter's air snuck in the open car window. And ours to bring the first sign of those lovely dark and deep winter Christmas woods into our home.

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