Kids drag Christmas tree 3 blocks home and lose half the branches on the way

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

There are times in our lives when we are growing up and we have to try to help out our parents with certain errands... nothing dangerous. Just those errands that our parents haven't had the chance to do themselves. During those times, I've found when I try to help, I am no help at all.

So imagine when I was a pre-teen. It was even worse back then.

For example, decades ago, my mother was waiting for my father to go with her to pick out a Christmas tree. My father worked all day. After he came home and ate supper, he just wanted to relax in front of the television.

I could see my mother growing restless. She wanted to pick up that Christmas tree and "get it over with."

The Christmas tree lot was only a few blocks from our house. It seemed like an easy enough task to cross off everyone's list.

I told my parents I would pick up the tree on foot, and I brought along my younger cousin to "help" me. As I said, it was only a few blocks away. Surely a tween and a seven-year-old could handle it.

My cousin and I trekked to the Christmas tree lot in the cold. I don't know what she expected, but I expected to see trees with their branches tied together, making them easier to transport.

Instead, the branches were all spread out and intimidating. How were we supposed to bring that home? I wondered.

It would have helped if the branches had been tied up rather than full-on opened up and bushy. Getting that thing home wasn't going to be a walk in the park. It was going to be a very long walk, nonetheless.

I paid for the tree with the cash my mother had given me, and I and my cousin carried it right out of the lot onto the sidewalk like a couple of tiny bosses... until we ran out of steam two minutes later.

My cousin was only seven. She was short and small. At the age of eleven, I was taller and much sturdier, but I was still only eleven. There was only so much we could do.

I was very surprised my parents had entrusted me with this task. They really shouldn't have.

We scraped the ground with Christmas tree branches at every step, especially on my cousin's side since she was shorter and couldn't hold her side as high.

Surprisingly, we lost more branches going downhill than uphill. By the time we got back home, the tree was decimated.

My father took one look at the poor excuse for a Christmas tree and burst out laughing. "I knew you could do it," he said. Then he took out his saw to make a few repairs to the bottom of the tree where we'd lost the most branches.

The tree was about a foot shorter when he was finished, but it still looked like Christmas.

Sadly, the needles on the branched prematurely turned brown and we barely go to enjoy our tree until it became a fire hazard and my parents insisted on getting rid of it. Fortunately, we made it through Christmas Day with my special tree before we had to take it down, but if it were up to me, I'd have kept it until spring.

Why would you want to Buy Me a Coffee? I am a full-time writer and a full-time unpaid caregiver to my 82-year-old father, who lives with Parkinson's. Your tip or donation allows me to provide his care and comfort around the clock while working from home. Thank you.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Massachusetts State

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