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The Christmas Tree Lot

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.
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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.

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This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are scent and stolen...
Come and join us there!

22 comments:

  1. Ah, this one brings back the memories. There is nothing like that pine smell. My husband's grandpa had a Christmas tree farm, and he was the one setting up shop on the vacant lot where my family bought Christmas trees. (It wasn't until we were dating in high school that we realized we probably saw each other at the tree lot.) We will always, always have a real tree in our house at Christmas.

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    1. I absolutely love real Christmas trees, Christine! They are hard to do here in west Texas because they are usually dried out from the heat by the time they get to us and we get them home. I have done potted ones before, and that was awesome... leaving you something to plant in your yard later. How sweet that you and your husband actually crossed paths before you officially met, maybe destiny was already in the works! :-)

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  2. Scents can be carriers of memories. They can take us back to wonderful moments and simpler times. Sometimes though, the memories can be bittersweet or even painful.

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    1. It is surprising how many memories we have tied up with scents, Annie, from familiar perfumes, to pipe tobacco, to the sweetness of babies. You are so right that scents can also remind us of very painful things. When events occur, our minds record much more than the action taking place, there is also what we see, hear, feel, smell, touch, and even taste at the time. I wish all memories could be happy ones, and that there would be delete options for the sad ones!

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  3. Sweet story. Reminds me of long ago. When everyone else was getting artificial trees, my grandmother insisted on a real tree. She and I would go get her tree..... lots of adventures, and great memories. And it's true, you can't beat the smell of a real tree. And it's something you can't forget....

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    1. I'm delighted this post brought back good memories, Lynn. Christmas memories as a child are among my best, cold... snow... colored lights... music, mom baking up a storm... wrapping paper and ribbon strewn... how I miss those simple times! I agree, the smell of a pine tree brings it all right back!

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  4. Sometimes a scent can take you back to a wonderful place. How very well done honey. Made me go right back to my childhood and one of the rare times we kids got to pick out our tree. Not so magical, but magical enough.

    Have a terrific day. Big hugs. ☺

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    1. When a childhood has hurtful memories, any sweet ones are good to savor, Sandee. I am delighted that this post made you smile and remember your own trip to pick out a tree. I'm sure God was smiling on you that day too, knowing that all little hearts need a bit of joy to keep going!

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  5. Awesome story! My favorite time of the year. I loved going to get the Christmas trees. Great story for this time of the year, right when it is getting cooler. I'm looking forward to that! : )

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    1. Thank you Joseph! I am so looking forward to cooler weather too. I know it seems strange to write about Christmas in August, but when I think of favorite smells, this is one of the really good ones that always comes to mind. It looks like many of us recall this scent fondly. Happy tree hunting this Christmas, traditions are wonderful to keep!

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  6. Oh my goodness...I could just feel the cold and smell the pine...fabulous descriptive writing!

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    1. Thank you Zoe! This story was from my childhood, and I did indeed stand in the middle of a store lot a few years ago, eyes closed and deeply inhaling that wonderful scent. I'm sure the young people who were selling trees thought I was a little weird, but it sure brought back wonderful memories from that time of life! Here in Texas, I miss the crunchy snow and frosty cold that go with Christmas, once in a great while we are blessed with a bit of white!

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  7. The smell of pine trees up north is wonderful. I live in the south now and there are lots of pine trees but they are not the fragrant kind. "Real" trees at Christmas are a delight as was your story.

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    1. Thank you, Patricia! I so agree, walking into a home or business with a real Christmas tree feels so different than an artificial one, no matter how expensive, how perfect, and how well-decorated it might be. For me, the cold goes with the scent of pine, Christmas here in our shirt-sleeves and no jackets never seems right at all!

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  8. This is a wonderful, descriptive story. I absolutely could relate. We used to get real trees when I was growing up. This story was sweet and a bit melancholy, thinking back to childhood sometimes. :)

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    1. I agree, Donetta, Christmas as a child takes on magical properties that are never quite the same as an adult. Life seemed so much simpler back then, stringing popcorn and cranberries for the birds, or putting Christmas stencils on the windows seemed like very cool stuff. I'm doubting that today's kids would be impressed with that.

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  9. I love your writing...and I love Christmas stories, so I was thoroughly entertained!

    Have a delightful day!

    Linda

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    1. Thank you, Linda! I so appreciate you dropping by to read my story! I think Christmas holds special memories for most of us, it is all about family... and the Greatest Gift ever! :-)

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  10. Oh I loved that Josie! I love real Christmas trees,the smell is just so lovely. We always have a real Christmas tree and the smell is one of the reasons we do. All the boys love our tree,it's a hodgepodge of old precious family Christmas ornaments,more like a memory tree than a Christmas tree! I think I would be like the lady in the story,sniffing at Christmas trees :-)
    I do love scents tho,they absolutely bring memories flooding back,I wonder why that is?
    Night :-) I'm always off to bed when I write to you aren't I!

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    1. Christmas and especially Christmas trees just bring out the best in us, don't they Jess? Even old folks smile remembering the trees of their childhood! I remember our family tree at home was much as you describe with many precious mementoes that sadly my father decided to dispose of after my mother died. He wasn't much one for sentimental stuff, or maybe the memories made him sadder than he cared to admit.

      Scents are indeed great memory triggers, I bet I could name a dozen and we all would have some memory of it... food cooking on the stove, etc. I love to write up until bedtime too, in fact I often wish I didn't have to go to bed, and could stay up all night to write! I wish someone would invent a battery pack for humans! :-)

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    2. Oh Josie if they invented a battery pack for humans I would be so very grateful! The mind boggles with the possibility!
      Christmas Trees ARE important aren't they! And each family has its own memory of how their tree is. On ours are ornaments from when I was even a baby! And the boys first nursery made decorations,obviously the handmade decorations are the most important of all.
      I'm writing this 'early' in the morning for a change,not late at night. I have just seen my eldest off to work and for a small time I have peace and quiet :-) hope you have a very happy Saturday x

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    3. Saturday mornings are my very favorite time, Jess, the whole house is quiet and my mind if fresh with ideas running rampant!:-)

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)