Sunday, December 5, 2004

Advent photoblogging

On the second weekend of Advent we always drive up to Laurel Springs, NC to cut our Christmas tree.

Yesterday's drive up was beautiful, except for a 45-minute delay in the hell that is Wilkesboro, NC -- if you happen to be driving through that charming town on the afternoon of their annual Christmas parade. Which we did for the second year in a row.

Two years ago, the tree farm turned us away because all the trees were covered with ice and couldn't safely be cut and bundled. There was ice at home too, that year, and no power. We took the trip just to stay warm in the car.

This year the weather was almost balmy. I think it will be our last trip to this farm, because, as you can see, there are very few trees left of a size to be cut.

But the kids found a good one and tagged it.

Laurette warned us that it was too big, but we ignored her. Once it was bundled and on the car, we made our way to Blowing Rock, NC, which we call "Christmas Town" at this time of year, for obvious reasons.

(Talk about your pedestrian-friendly environments!)

We have regular habits: go to Celeste's for specialty soaps, which are hand-cut from "loaves" and have amusing shapes floating in clear glycerin; then to Kilwn's Chocolates for slabs of fudge; to Kojay's for hot, foamy Chai lattes or cold cream sodas; to the Bob Timberlake store just to sit on the leather couches and daydream about living in such a kitschy, cabin-y heaven; then dinner and home.

It took three of us to get the tree off the car. A quick measurement showed that Laurette was right -- it was too big. Eight inches off the bottom with the electric chainsaw, another six off the top with the Felco pruning shears, and we had it down to 10'4" -- perfect. Laurette took some satisfaction in being right.

We wrestled it into the living room and into the tree stand, with a good bit of grunting, a little shouting, a lot of sticky tree sap, and the absolutely sublime smell of a freshly-cut Frazier Fir in our nostrils.

There's an ironclad law of Christmas tree decorating: no matter how many strings of lights you have, you always need two more. 800 lights were required.

I went for the extra lights this morning, and ran into a friend at Target who was just getting ready for an ASPCA fundraiser at Petsmart next door.

I own two Belgian Malinois shepherd dogs. I am a sucker for the ASPCA. Hence:

Trajan was afraid of Santa. Afraid! If you look carefully, you can see his tail between his legs. I have never seen him do that before. (But don't get any ideas, burglars. Even if you do show up in a Santa suit and scare Trajan, Hero will eat you.)

The rest of today was spent putting lights on the house. Then a lovely, contemplative mass at Our Lady of Grace.

Happy Advent.


Margaret Banks said...

(Con't) I'd like to apologize to you and any other flat-lander inconvenienced by our celebration. In the future, we will relegate our parade to the back-roads of Wilkes, unless the revenuers done seized the land and run off mama-n'em. By the way, I enjoy your blog! Especially liked the Whitman stuff.

Margaret Banks said...

(First section) I'm glad you find my hometown of Wilkesboro "charming." The "hell" to which you refer is the annual parade - not unlike Greensboro's or even those in Aycock. I guess Wilkesboro’s is different, since it delays out-of-towners up to 45 minutes from buying fir trees from authentic hillbillies.(more)

David Wharton said...

Thank you kindly, Ma'am.

I actually do like Wilkesboro. But to paraphrase Sartre, "hell is other people's parades."