The Christmas tree story

Today we got our Christmas tree.

This is one of my favorite parts of the holiday. I always make a pot of spiced cider, (which turns into hot buttered rum for my husband and me), and put on my Cyndi Lauper Christmas CD. When she sings the Christmas Conga, we abandon our ornaments and conga around the house.

This one was my 24th tree. Which leads me to tell you about my first.

When I turned 18 I got an apartment in Riverside with two of my girlfriends. One of them was dating a paramedic named Chip.

We got a call. Chip was volunteering at a Christmas tree farm in Rancho Cucamonga for one night. If we went there, he would sneak us a free tree.

Sold.

We listened to the radio as we got all cute, which seemed important at the time. The radio told us to stay home.

“There are record-breaking winds blowing trees out of the ground and cars off the road. Unless you absolutely have to go somewhere, stay home.”

Unfortunately, we absolutely had to go steal a tree.

We climbed in Kelly’s Volkswagon Rabbit and held on tight as we made our way across the overpass. We were strugging to stay in our lane as we banked, high in the air. We had to shout to hear one another for the battering roar of the wind.

As people do, we picked out the biggest one we thought we could fit under our ceiling. Chip chopped it down and strapped it to the Rabbit’s roof.

We had an even harder time getting home. By then the winds had reached 90 mph, and we had the windows slightly open for the ropes that Chip had wrapped through. That one-day storm was whipping right through the back seat.

Through the power of our screaming, panicking and making unfullfillable promises to greater powers, we made it back to our apartment. We even managed to get that tree up the stairs and into the warmth, where we collapsed on the floor, all of us amazed to be alive.

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