Friday, December 21, 2007

Things I'll never do

Did I ever tell you about how I used to sell Christmas trees? I don't think I have. Anyway, I did. When I worked at a garden center in Knoxville we sold Christmas trees, at Christmas obviously. Mostly it was pretty good fun. The smell of the firs and spruces. Using a chainsaw to put a fresh cut on a Christmas tree. Chainsaws are fun.

Mostly it was fun. But sometimes it wasn't. Sometimes people weren't as nice as they could have been. Like the guy who threatened his wife because she ordered a big ass live blue spruce for their entry foyer and he was gonna pop her if it scratched the marble tiles. (It was a questionable choice of tree, but hardly an excuse for domestic violence)

Another time, I saw this mom tell her kid who was - I don't know - seven? - that he could pick out any tree in the lot. He was a thoughtful little guy and he wandered amongst the trees and picked one out. It was a good tree. Even, full, of a harmonious conical shape, nice good limb development for optimal ornament hang-age. Well, I can't remember, but I do remember being pretty impressed with his choice. On the other hand, we didn't have many duff trees.

All the trees were hung up with twine from the marquis frame, so the kid pointed out his tree and Bruce (a co-worker) and I cut down the tree and started to take it over for the fresh cut to the base. Now once we make that fresh cut, you have to buy that tree - that's the rule. But mom comes out and directs dad and kid inside to look at the poinsettias - and tells us that she really wants this other tree instead.

The tree is really no better, really not that much different. But mom's the one with the money, so we do what she wants and we don't say anything.

Bruce and I feel bad about it, so we work quick. Normally the fresh cut and the baling will be more or less a one person job, but we worked together so that we could get that tree baled up and tied onto the roof of their car before the kid comes back out again.

We were just tying the last knots on the luggage rack when the kid comes up to us and says, in a quiet voice. "That's not my tree, is it?" He seemed more resigned than upset. We could have lied - cheerfully. We could have. But something about the way he said it - we just looked at each other and said "No, it's not." And the kid was not surprised, it clearly wasn't the first time something like this had happened.

Anyway, I swore when I had a kid, this would be something I'd never do. If it mattered that much to me, I wouldn't offer a choice. Cause a kid can tell his own tree even baled up and tied to the roof of a car.


Chris is wrestling with the things he said he'd never do as a parent. Like use the tv as a mollifier. I think I said something like that, too. Plus we agreed we'd stop swearing. Well, that hasn't happened. Never say never. But I'm still sticking with my promise not to pull a stunt like the Christmas tree swap.


Chris in Oxford said...

Good luck with that! My long held beliefs about life, the universe and everything are toppling like dominoes in the face of parenthood.

Ok, maybe that was melodramatic.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Jeff. We're off in the morning to Canada - it's been nice getting to "know" you and your family. I look forward to learning lots more about y'all in the New Year.

And a rematch in October...

Bluegrass Mama said...

Having been a parent for over 22 years, I've done many of the things I said I never would. But there are always a couple of things that are important enough to stick with. I think you've found one of them.