In the last handful of years the Ramseyers (Adam and myself) have met up with the Gieskes (Josh, Julie and now Ethan and Emma) to head out to snowy Spring Lake and pick out a tree from Josh’s Aunt’s tree farm and nursery. Each year both families selected the perfect blue spruce (prickly needles and all). And each year we would tie them down and wedge them onto the back of Adam’s truck. We would then ceremoniously drive to Fricano’s for pizza, warming wines and good conversation.
As time goes on the truck begins to die a slow and painful vehicular death and we now live in opposite corners of Greater Grand Rapids from our friends the Gieskes. So when this year’s annual Tree Getting event came up we hemmed and hawed whether the truck would make it, whether we would find a day to go that works and whether we should stay closer to home and just get one at Home Depot.
But I am a stickler for tradition so when we heard from Josh, plans were set into motion. The momentous occasion would happen on Dec. 5th, at 5pm. Grand Rapids had hardly seen any snow, but we realized rather quickly that the lakeshore area was enjoying some lake effect snow – oh Mother Nature went nuts that night. We clamored out of the truck and met up with the Gieskes (I was still wrapping up a conversation, but was some what there) Ethan began pretending that he is on a cell phone and put his little hand up to his face and blah blahed away in tune with my own words. Love those kiddies.
Picking the tree happened quickly. Ethan pointed to the tree of his dreams and I told Adam to just pick one, any one… apparently I get cold and impatient so holiday traditions be damned I needed to get fed and back in the truck. The boys fastened both stumps down and we snaked our way down the road to Josh’s parents house to drop off the kids. Tonight we would feast at Fricano’s as adults! We also called ahead, unlike the Tree Getting of 2008, when we arrived only to discover that the whole restaurant was shut down for a private party. Try telling an adult only child that she can’t have her pizza. I thinly masked my disappointment. So now we call ahead. And success, they are open!
We chatted a few minutes and then headed back out, it’s now snowing at a good clip and it’s getting hard to see the road, but no matter, we are going to Fricano’s. Four pizzas and a few drinks later our dinner conversation was winding down, Josh and Julie suggested moving to a different venue, perhaps a Starbucks to finish up the evening. To be honest, though it was snowing more and it was getting late, we know the importance or adult time so we gladly agreed.
We slid our way into the Starbucks parking lot and proceeded to shut the place down by 10pm. Hmmm… really getting late now and Mother Nature had other plans. We picked up the kids and the car seats were re-adjusted into their family sedan. The trees we so carefully chose were covered by a thick blanket of snow (I am already sick of the stuff, no matter how fluffy and beautiful.)
Instead of taking the expressway we tailed the Gieske car – eventually losing sight of it through the thick, near blizzard-like conditions (by my standards.) Adam checked his rear view mirror from time to time to make sure our sappy cargo was still in tow. We bumped along and slide back and forth. About 40 minutes into our trip home Adam looks back again (right at the corner of Wilson and M 45) And says, “oh no I can see out the back window.” Why yes, one of our trees is now gone. Go ahead and fill in my response, “place favorite curse here and repeat 4 times at the top of your lungs. Go ahead that’s how that happened.” Then he said, “you have to call them and tell them what happened.” You see, not only did we lose a tree we lost THEIR tree. Their perfect family Christmas tree lovingly selected by 3-year-old Ethan. Now I changed my tone to, “shit, shit, shit… do I have to call them?” Oh good, Julie answered.
Me: Hey there, we had a slight snag.
Julie: Oh no, what happened? You guys ok?
Me: Oh yes, but we lost a tree.
Julie: Oh no, you lost your tree?
Me: Nooooo….. guess again…we lost yours.
Julie: (insert long pause) oh, well… um… that’s okay…
(but it wasn’t ok. You can’t tell a 3-year-old his tree is gone and well how do you coordinate another tree getting if you don’t have the right vehicle for it, two small children and this was the only night that worked.)
So I did something very un-only-child like…I offered those guys ours. We trekked the rest of the way with our/their tree and dropped if off in Wyoming before turning around empty-handed and heading home. It’s nearly midnight before we get back. We’ve been gone since 5pm.
Cue the waterworks. At this precise moment I lose it, and begin crying. Not so much for the tree we left behind (God I hope it splintered otherwise someone’s bumper found it in the morning.) But that we had carefully coordinated an event that we weren’t even sure we’d be able to go one only to return with nothing.
Adam: It’s okay, we’ll get a tree tomorrow from my work.
Me: We *gulp*, *sniff*, have nothing to (incoherent words) for it.
Adam: Um yeah, why don’t you go to bed. We’ll deal with this in the morning.
Me: Why did this happen, *sniff*, *blow nose* so tired, Mother (bad word) Nature, you got us good this time!
The next evening I went to Home Depot where Adam met me, within 15 minutes we had a tree selected, bound and gagged in the back of our truck. That evening I was chipper as the lights were being put up, the ornaments were being hung with care and plenty of nog was being had. A new tradition is born, the Home Depot Holiday Tree Getting of 2010.