Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Christmas Scrooge

I use to always say that I would never have an artificial Christmas tree. After all, only Scrooges would fail to have the real evergreen in their home. That philosophy came to a screeching halt one Christmas many years back. We actually went out that year and cut our own Christmas tree. I had borrowed a chainsaw from a friend but didn’t need it as the hand saw was sufficient to accomplish the task. We got the tree home and stuffed it down the narrow steps into our downstairs family room. However, we soon discovered that the tree was much too tall for the low drop ceiling in our downstairs.

No problem! After all, I had my friend’s chainsaw. So I went up to the garage and got this manly power tool and took it down into my basement. I grabbed the tree and drug it into the utility room where the furnace, oil tank, water heater, washer and dryer all were. Like my friend had instructed me, I primed the pump a few times, put my foot on the saw for leverage and pulled the cord. And I pulled…And I pulled…And I pulled…And I pulled. Over and over I tugged but could not get this thing to fire up. Thinking back, it is probably a good thing. Number one, firing up a chainsaw in the utility room of your basement is not the wisest of moves. Number two, as I tired and tried to start this chainsaw with my foot on the saw for leverage, all I was wearing were my house slippers…not boots…not even tennis shoes…just my flimsy little slippers. Had that puppy started I’d probably have cut off my foot within seconds of ignition.

Frustrated, angry, and thinking cuss words in my mind (hey, I’m just being honest), I decided to take a break so I walked across our family room’s white carpet and up the steps to the kitchen to get a drink and then back down the steps and across our white carpet again and sat down on the couch to watch some television. Guess what show was on? Tim Allen in Home Improvement! I’m not kidding. Oh, and to add insult to injury it didn’t dawn on me that my slippers were now covered with chainsaw oil. When I heard my wife scream, I realized that I had more problems than just a tree that was too tall and a chainsaw that would not start. Now, I had ruined the carpet.

This led to my wife and I having “words.” Now in complete anger I went back to the chainsaw and tried and tried and tried some more. Once again, I had no luck. Even angrier, I walked back across that white carpet (still wearing oil laden slippers) up to the garage where I got the handsaw. I returned to the utility room the same way I came up, making tracks the entire distance. I grabbed the tree by its scrawny little trunk and sawed it down to size in a matter of minutes. I pulled it back into the family room and stuck it in the tree stand only to discover that I had sawed off way too much of this Holiday symbol and now our live Christmas tree was only about 4 feet tall at best. I stormed up the steps proclaiming to my children that we were not having Christmas this year!!

I told that story in church the next Sunday. One dear couple who felt sorry for us went out and bought us an artificial Christmas tree and we have been without a live tree ever since. Now if only I get could the lights on the tree each year without a major incident!!

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