Of all days for our annual family outing in search for the perfect Christmas tree, it was during a blinding snowstorm.
OK, half-an-inch of snowfall doesn’t qualify as a storm but the sun shining on the snow was indeed blinding. Though not enough to make a snowman, the snow in the winter wonderland almost-foothills of the Cascades had flocked all the U-cut Grand Firs, Douglas Firs, and Charlie Brown trees too.
It was a Griswold Family Christmas tree. It always is. Though surrounded by other Noble Firs, none is ever as noble as this one. The focal point of the sun’s filtered spotlight, the tree is bathed in a surround-sound crescendo as the orchestra takes it up a notch upon our approach.
THE TREE was all but decorated.
It’s a tradition in our family to take turns over the years in having the privilege of cutting it down. The tree-faller’s time is dutifully recorded and compared to last year’s and the years before that by way of a little pocket notebook kept exclusively for this purpose. No prizes are awarded, just bragging rights.
But first, all the family poses for a portrait with the tree featured front-and-center. Each year the evergreen seems to get shorter.
Twenty-one seconds today, a new world record.
“T-I-M-B-E-R!” we all yell at the appropriate moment, the cracking sound as it crashes to the ground going unheard – not because we hollered so loud but because the tree is so small.
A seven-foot tree however – if you count the spindly branch supported by a vertical stick on which the star will be placed – is big enough to knock flat a not-quite three-foot unsuspecting granddaughter whose whereabouts had somehow become unknown in all the excitement.
We did hear that. A wail emanating from somewhere beneath the branches. First the pink gloves and then the hat, both stripped away during the thud, were located, and then there she was, face down, flat in the snow waiting for help to arrive.
Which it did, but first a picture.
A surprise greeted us at time to pay. No prices are set by the Family Tree Farm in Graham but rather donations accepted with 100 percent of the proceeds supporting “Feed My Starving Children.”
For directions to Greg and Cyndi Helle’s family-operated farm, and to learn more about what they do, click here to go there.
It’s where memories are made and people across the world are fed.
Although THE TREE left today with us, yours is waiting for you.