Monday, December 10, 2012

From the Christmas Archives - No Rope

I posted this childhood story last year but I am posting it again for those who missed it last Christmas and for those who enjoyed it and want to read it again.

Did I ever tell you about the time we forgot to bring rope to the Christmas tree farm?

It is a favorite family story, at least for my family. I think it causes my husband anxiety.

The story begins with a van load of kids and two parents driving about a mile from our house to a nearby Christmas tree farm. Living in Oregon you end up passing multiple tree farms on a quick trip to Costco. It seems that any farm land left has trees growing on it. Most of these trees are actually cut down at the end of November and sent south, where Californians pay a crazy amount for a real live noble fir. I will be one of those crazy Californians this year.

Anyway, the family, including the six teenage foster kids that lived with us at the time were all walking through the muddy tree farm looking for the perfect tree. (There seems to be a theme to my Christmas tree stories.)

We looked at trees that looked perfect on one side but had a huge hole in the back. It always reminded me of a big civil war era hoop skirt tucked into a girl's pantaloons in the back.

We looked at trees that were too tall or too short. Someone started grumbling, most likely my dad. Someone started whining, probably me but since this is my blog I'll blame my little brother.

Finally the good enough tree was found and cut down. Again, there were people kneeling down on coats and a few choice phrases uttered as the handsaw got caught in the tree trunk. The wet needles flickering drops of water on everyone nearby as it is carried back to the car.

We, and by we I mean the grown ups and my big brother, finally get the tree on top of the van ready to be tied down.

But there is no rope.

And here is where my memory gets foggy because I would assume that the tree farm had string. The fancy tree farm we took our kids to when we lived in Oregon had string. They also let you preselect your tree in September before the California trees were harvested. And then they cut the tree down for you on the day you preselected for pick up. Maybe our childhood tree farm was not that fancy.

So we had the tree on top of the van but nothing to tie it down. And here is where my family becomes the Griswolds because the solution they found was to have my big brother lie on top of the tree, on top of van, holding on to the luggage rack, while my dad drove the van full of the rest of the family home.

Seriously. We drove a mile or so with a Christmas tree and my brother on top of the van.

We love this story. It is the essence of my family. Pragmatic and determined. Safety conscious...not so much.

I think the image of one of our boys on top of the van may be why my husband does not like that story.

Because truthfully, left  in the same situation, I might try it. Hockey Boy is pretty strong.

Update - (I posted this link on my Facebook page where my brother read it. He confirms the story except for me forgetting to mention the rain and cold. Longest mile of his life he wrote.)

Can you please help settle a debate between the kids who lived this story and the spouses who are slightly (or more) horrified by this story. Was this a horrible thing for my parents to do? Or a funny Griswold type moment? 


  1. Slightly horrified. I can't imagine putting one of kids on top of the car and driving down an actual road! But it sure makes for a good Christmas story!

  2. The Griswolds forgot the chain saw, not the rope. Even they did not put a child on top of the car's roof. So, it was only a mile for your brother to ride on top of the tree. I think most people would be just slightly annoyed about the two mile round trip they would have to make to get the rope, or the distance to the drive thru Starbucks and back. I am amazed at how lovely my wife turned out though.