Some 15 or more years ago was a Christmas that still sends shivers down my spine and causes me to break out in a cold sweat just to think about it. We decided that year that instead of buying a tree from the corner tree lot like usual, we would do things the old fashioned way - cut it down ourselves. So I borrowed a chainsaw from a friend, got a quick instruction on how to start it, and headed into the woods.
If you know me, you know that I am very challenged when it comes to fixing anything and the simplest of tools, let alone a chainsaw, is very dangerous for me to have in my hand. Fortunately, a handsaw did the trick in the woods and we tied our prize to the top of our car and headed back to our house.
I drug the tree inside and down the steps to the family room leaving a trail of pine needles and tree sap all along the way. I then hoisted up the tree and jammed it into the tree stand only to discover that it was way to tall for our drop ceiling. "No problem," I thought, "I have my friend's chainsaw." I could shorten it!
Instead of dragging the tree back up the stairs and outdoors, I puled it into the utility room where the furnace and hot water heater were located and brought the chainsaw down to the tree. Next I primed the instrument as I had been instructed, put my foot (wearing only my house slippers) in the right location on the chain saw and right there in our utility room I began to pull the cord in an effort to start the cutting device.
To my utter frustration I could not get that chainsaw to start for anything. Today I realize how good of a thing it was that it did not start. Remember, I am in my utility room and my slipper clad foot is resting firmly on the chainsaw. Cuss words began to whip through my head with each failed attempt at the rip cord.
Finally, completely angry, I went out and turned on the TV to calm down (how ironic that the sitcom, "Home Improvements" was the show on at the time!). I then went back into the utility room to try again to start the chainsaw. Again, I was met with nothing but failure.
Outraged, I walked across the white carpet of our family room, up the white carpeted stairs, out into the garage and got the handsaw and followed my path back to the utility room via the same white carpet. Unknown to me, my slippers were now covered with small engine oil and my footprints were now all throughout our house on the white carpet.
I didn't realize what I had done to the carpet until I heard my wife YELL!!! Now my frustration and anger turned to rage. I marched back into the utility room, took the handsaw and cut a large piece out of our Christmas tree. I then walked across the white carpet (still wearing the oil laced house slippers) and stuck it into the tree stand only to discover that I had cut way too much off of the tree which now stood no more than 4 feet in height.
This, along with the soiled white carpet throughout the house, led to more "not so loving" words between my wife and I. Finally, about as angry as I have ever been in my entire life, I marched back upstairs (you guessed it...still wearing the oil covered slippers) where my small kids sat in wide-eyed wonder at the "Christmas spirit" wafting through our home and declared to them that "Christmas was cancelled this year!!!!"
I told that story the next Sunday at the church I was pastoring in Indiana and a couple who deeply desired that their pastor's marriage stay in tact, bought us an artificial tree. We have used an artificial tree every since...UNTIL NOW! Pictured above is my son and I with our first live Christmas Tree since that infamous Christmas so many years ago. However, it may be a little too tall for our living room...
Anyone got a chainsaw I can borrow?