This morning there was a loud knock on my door. I got up and saw Max and Tupper standing on the landing wearing their winter best. “We are going to get a real live Christmas tree for our house,” Tupper said, excitedly. “Do you want to come?” Ever since I lost track of a Russian I was charged with burying in the Pine Barrens, I have hated walking in the woods in the winter. But Max and Tupper were a lot of fun, so I agreed to go with them.
Tupper, Max, and I walked over the river and through the woods until we came to a vast forest of pine trees. Max found one that would fit perfectly in their living room. Jasper pulled an ax out of his overcoat and began to swing at the trunk.
“Hold it!” a deep voice growled. Our eyes darted around. “Up here,” the voice said. We looked up and realized the tree was talking. “Do not chop me down!” it commanded.
“Wow,” Max said. “Trees can talk.”
“You’re damn right we can talk,” the tree said. “And I am finally going to speak for all the trees in the forest. We have had enough with your Christmas traditions. Someone has to put a stop to the madness.“
He shook his mighty branches. “Once I was a young sapling, happily growing in a forest with many friends. Then one day a man came and chopped me down. As he was walking away at me with his ax, I thought ‘you are a tree, you knew this day would come, and soon you will be at Rainbow Bridge, be immortal and never feel the cut of an ax again.’
“But, my mortal fate would be prolonged. Instead of being allowed to ascend to the Bridge peacefully I was wrapped and kept alive. Many of my friends and I, had been kidnapped and were being held in a parking lot. We were weak and barely conscious. After a few days, I realized my friends were slowly disappearing. Then they came for me.”
“A man had bought me. I was tied to the roof of his car like excess luggage. Then I was dragged across the snow into a house. I thought that I would either be burned or hacked apart in some strange, pagan ritual. Instead, I was stood up, and put in water, which I thankfully drank. At first, I was grateful, but then I realized they were going to keep me barely alive by giving me just enough water to help keep me alive It was barbaric.
“Then they began to deface me most curiously. They hung balls from me. They put garland and tinsel on my branches. They even put lights on me, and, for the final humiliation, a star on top. My limbs were weighed down and bent, my needles were falling off, and all I had was one little stand of water which they kept forgetting to fill.
“They seemed to enjoy having me in their house, but they were also highly critical. The mom was upset I was losing my needles and kept telling people I was not ‘as full’’ as last year’s. The cat tried to climb me, and the dog kept peeing on me. The family broke every article of the Geneva Convention.
I was treated the best at Christmas. The family gathered around me to open their presents. Their happiness made me feel part of something. But once the presents were gone, I was abandoned again. After that, the family stopped caring about me, and my water was filled less.
On New Year’s Day, they finally removed all the lights, garland and ornaments from my branches and I hoped they would release me to the forest. Instead, they left me on the sidewalk where I received the sweet kiss of death and escaped to Rainbow Bridge.
So, do you understand, that I cannot let you chop me down? If I were to be struck down by lightning, I would grow right back and not be bothered at all. But for you to use me as a Christmas Tree means I am held against my will again and slowly suffer until I pass and grow again. I hope you understand.
Neither Max, Tupper or I could answer because we were weeping. Then we told the tree that he had found a bad home. There are many people who welcome the tree in their home and treat it like one of the family, and we would do that as well. The tree agreed but would not let us cut it down. It followed us home; it’s roots leaving a trail of destruction. It settled in our backyard where we made it look beautiful. Have you ever made a tree smile? It is a great sight. I don’t know if we will stay with us after Christmas, but we hope he does
If you get a real tree this holiday season treat it’s right. In many ways being a Christmas tree is a thankless task so make sure you give it plenty of love.