DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

December 8, 2006

                                                            

                                      

O Tannenbaum

 

It was the SUV with the Christmas Tree on the roof that got me to thinking. And even though it was the first weekend in December it hadn’t yet occurred to me that it was Christmas Tree buying time.

 

Then, on Sunday when I drove home from church I passed numerous cars down on 23 in Obetz area. All were driving on Duval road; all had Christmas Trees strapped to the top of their cars.

 

It is Christmas Time.

 

I pastored a church on the Western Edge of the Rockies out in Washington State near the Idaho and Canadian Borders. It was really “out there”, you’ve heard me talk about it before. The nearest mountain was a stones throw away and the nearest forest was…well, we were in the middle of it.

 

I’m a city-boy. I know that might be debatable considering I am from Lima but my point is that living in the mountains of the West was considerably different from growing up on the East Side of Lima.. I remember preaching in the early months of my church work there in Washington and referring to the Pine Trees. Afterwards a couple Forest Rangers who were church members talked to me and said, “Bob, those trees you were referring to are not Pine Trees, they are (I forget exactly what tree they told me they really were…remember…I’m a city boy from Lima.).

 

But the Ranger gave me some good advice, “Just refer to all those trees as Evergreens and you’ll be OK.” Apparently the word “Evergreens” covers a lot of different trees.  And to this day, I still refer to all trees as Evergreens, even Oaks and maples. I figure if a Forest Ranger gives me directions, I’ll follow them.

 

The church also had several other Forestry experts, a few wild life experts, several hydroelectric dam operators and lots of school teachers. But I digress.

 

There in Washington in the early 1980’s, one could get a permit to cut down a pi…evergreen tree for your Christmas Tree by paying three bucks for a permit. Then you borrow someone’s pick-up for hauling the tree. (There is a mandatory rule for Western States that there must be a minimum of one pick-up per household. So, it was easy to find a truck.)

 

One year I went with Ben and Sally. Ben was a Forest Ranger and I figured he would know some great places to find trees; would know how to get to them through the forest and would own a pick-up. I was correct on all counts. Unfortunately Ben was not so great at predicting weather and so we went up into the mountains in a snow storm. It made for a few “National Geographic” hours, but we got our trees.

 

The next year Ben had moved and Tom just happened to buy a brand new Jeep in late Summer and he and Dave picked me up one morning and we drove into the mountains in his new SUV. As we went up higher into the mountains we came to some areas that had been logged off for the huge power lines to go through. But what we discovered (and once again I remind you that I am a city boy and only 99% of the local populace already knew what we just figured out)…that evergreen/Christmas Trees grow great in clear-cuts. They are full, straight and easy to cut and haul out.

 

 

 

 

So, there in August we easily spotted the best trees, though quite a ways up in the mountains, near the dirt road. In late October, before the snows started coming down from the mountain tops, a number of us went back in to the mountains in a pick-up brigade and cut our Christmas Trees.

 

Another year I went with Truman; he was eager to test his new 4-wheel drive pick-up in the mountain roads. I was beginning to realize that, there was no shortage of guys who wanted to test their new trucks in the mountains and they probably figured there could be no better good luck than to take the local preacher to chop down a Christmas Tree. I do remember that afternoon with him because it was hunting season in the mountains.

 

Hunting season in Eastern Washington lasted from about October to April. The various animal-hunting weeks alternated… Elk. Deer. Bear. Rifle. Bow. Rifle again. Bow again. Elk and deer again and some other animal. During hunting season the mountains were like armed camps. There are probably war-zones in the world today with fewer armed men in them than those mountains near our home during hunting season. But, we got our trees and they were from a clear-cut area where the hydroelectric power lines came through.

 

But looking back, it was a slice of Americana. You cannot beat a crisp snowy day in the mountains dragging a Christmas tree back to the 350 hp, all-wheel drive, fully automatic, pick-up. There were bald eagles in the mountains. There were Grizzlies way up in the back country of our region. A couple times I snow-shoed through the forests in winter.

 

Today I am very happy to buy my Christmas Trees from the local Scout Troop on a street  corner parking lot or if I am feeling particularly rugged I go to the Christmas Tree Farm near Amanda.  I’ve been to the mountains; been in snowstorms searching for the perfect tree; scouted out the prime trees during the summer; ridden in enough pick-ups to last me a life time and seen enough shotgun-toting men to qualify me for the local American Legion Post.

 

All those tree expeditions were much more “Norman-Rockwell” than the Christmas Tree we dug up from near the hippo pool at the school in Zambia or the 80 degree weather on University Ave. in Berkeley when I bought a tree from a guy named Ed who was wearing Bermudas and an Hawaiian shirt. (His top-down convertible nearby.)

 

As for Dublin…it’s pretty good place to celebrate the Holidays though there do not seem to be too many pick-ups around here…this is definitely a mandatory Hummer-zone.

 

 

Peace,                      

Rev. Robert Tussing