Eight-year-old Connie was so excited, she and her older sisters were going with their Mom to the Christmas tree lot tonight. Her Mom had been promising them all week that, if they were good and didn't argue when they did their chores, they would go pick out their Christmas tree on Friday night. Connie had tried extra-hard to be good, and didn't even tattle when her big sisters started chasing each other around the kitchen while they were washing the dishes. She was thankful that her Mom hadn't heard that commotion! As soon as Mom gave the word, they all squeezed into the seat of Dad's pickup truck and off they went.
The Christmas tree lot was owned by the a family that ran a small market in their little Midwest town. When the Christmas season drew near the empty lot behind the store took on a magical look, with lights strung on wires and fastened up high so folks could see the trees on display. The glow cast by the light bulbs was soft in the frosty winter night. The heady scent of fresh-cut pine, and the crunch of snow under her boots had Connie's pretending that she was walking in a deep forest thick with trees.
Connie and her sisters watched their Mom looking at trees as she tried to decide if this year it should be one with long needles or short; a slender, stately tree or a round one that would fill up the whole corner of the room. Connie knew that she wouldn't be satisfied until she found the perfect tree, one with no big gaps between the branches, and tall enough to nearly touch the ceiling once it was firmly anchored in the big bucket of bricks and sand that Dad had already moved in from the garage. Being the youngest, it would be her that Dad lifted up to place the beautiful angel way up on top.
By the time they had selected what everyone agreed was the most magnificent tree in the lot, and it had been paid for, tied up securely so the branches wouldn't break, and loaded into the back of the pickup, Connie would be drowsy, intoxicated by the scent of pine, and would often fall asleep on the way home, dreaming of candy canes and colored lights and tinsel that would soon sparkle on the tree.
Sixty some years later, Connie stood near the entrance to a large grocery store one evening in early December. Just to the left a small area had been fenced off as a sales lot for a truckload of pine trees that had been cut somewhere up in the Northwest and trucked down to New Mexico just in time for Christmas. Smiling, Connie gathered up her two small bags of groceries from the cart and headed over to the tree lot, walking carefully with her cane so as not to fall. Slowly she made her way through the lighted rows of trees to the very back corner where it was darker and nearly quiet. She shut her eyes tightly, and slowly drew in a big breath of the pine-scented air... and just for a moment she was back in time, wandering the rows of that little Christmas tree lot in Dakota, and imagining that it was a very cold, snowy night in the forest.
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are scent and stolen...
Come and join us there!