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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

December 7, 2012

LIFE AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT…

We drove to the Cut-Your-Own-Christmas Tree place outside of Amanda, Ohio. We’ve been going there for years. If you avoid the weekend, you avoid lots and lots of people. Since I only work one day a week, I have time to choose a mid-week day and go.

We went in my daughter and son-in-law’s dual axle pickup, which could, if necessary, haul a trailer with a couple hundred trees. But we only needed two trees so I thought we had adequate horsepower.

Christmas tree farm cutting is a curious thing. It gives you the feel of tramping the woods in search of the perfect tree if you ignore the fact that the “woods” in which you are tramping is in parallel rows like corn stalks. Yet, you are out in the country. Nearby are farm fields, a hog farm and country lanes. It is much more authentic than picking out the tree in a strip mall parking lot. Still it is a far cry from actually searching the mountains for a Christmas tree.

We combed the mountains around our home in Northeastern Washington for the five Christmas seasons in which we lived there. Searching for the perfect Christmas Tree was actually a year-round activity. If we were on some back-country mountain roads in the summer, we would note where the abundance of evergreens were growing and return in December when the snow was usually deep. The best places? Not in the deep forest but where the mountains had been clear-cut for power lines. With plenty of sunlight the evergreens would grow full and lush. Logging roads were our highways.

The biggest challenges were to avoid the hunters. The hunting season for elk, deer, bear and more lasted for a very long time. They had bow hunting then rifle hunting for one type of game and then bow again and then rifle again. This went on for weeks and months. Driving the mountain roads, one could come to traffic jams of pickups with hunted game or hunted Christmas Trees. You have no idea how large Elk are and how difficult it is to pack them out. Our friends did a lot of Elk hunting.

While we had no mountains to traverse on our recent Christmas Tree hunt at the Tree Farm, we did ask where the White Pines had been planted. We were told they were at the far end of the property and that the individual trees were not marked with tags. “Just find the sign and if they do not have a red tag, they are White Pines. Help yourself and bring them back so we can measure them.”

Off we walked down the hill. It wasn’t exactly like tramping the mountains of Washington near the Canadian Border but it sufficed. Everyone at our tree farm is issued a standard handsaw for cutting down the trees. You lay on the ground and saw away. But my son-in-law came prepared. I asked the owners if we could use his chain saw. “Fine with us,” came the reply. And so we did. The chain saw made our Ohio Christmas Tree experience much more authentic.

It was reminiscent of my younger days when it was just the mountain, a borrowed pickup, a Husqvarna and me. My Brooks Brothers sports coats these days are just a front.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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