Growing up in a small community one of the most important times of the year is the Fall Fair. Every year as it approached my Mom would come up with virtually hundreds of crafty ideas for both her and myself to enter into competition and we would craft our little fingers off for months leading up to it. Walking in the fair parade was always of the utmost importance as well and my costumes were a team effort for my parents.
One year, it was decided that I would dress up as Santa Claus for the parade. The key component of the costume was to be a decorated tree surrounded by presents that I would pull behind me in my wagon. Well. When my parents presented me with this idea I was fit to be tied. "You’re going to kill a tree for my parade costume???" I thought the Santa outfit was fantastic but I wanted no part in cutting down a tree. Incidentally, I still feel pretty strongly about trees.
Not ones to have an 8 year old blow their awesome idea, my Dad came up with an alternate plan. Out we trudged into the forest behind my grandparent’s house to find a good tree. Then my Dad dug it up. What you can’t really see in these photos, due to its camouflage of presents, is a huge barrel containing the tree’s root ball and a lot of soil. Let me tell you something: That wagon was really heavy. But I pulled that sumbitch the whole way and, I think, with a minimum amount of complaining even though I was really, really hot in that Santa costume. After all, dude, I was saving a tree! Although, I have to confess, there are other photos that show my Mom and Dad trading off pushing the wagon from behind when I started lagging behind the rest of the parade. Team effort.
We won the best costume prize for my age group that year and after the parade my Grandfather planted the little spruce tree in his yard. The tree became known as "Leslie’s Tree" and it was a rare occasion indeed if we passed by it and nobody said, "Look at how your tree has grown up!" or something else to that effect. The tree stood for twenty-some years there and from it’s early days as the scruffy little parade tree it became one of those beautiful, tall – majestic even – Northern Ontario spruce trees. My uncle recently cut the tree down, while he was clearing the property of several other nuisance trees. The nuisance trees were ruining the septic tank, so I know, he had a good reason but still, it makes me really sad. I guess I really love trees – and me and that tree go waaaaay back. I’m not the only one who feels sad about it though. Without fail, passing by the spot where the tree once stood, my Dad will say, "He could have left that one." He’ll say it later today, when Kevin and I join the rest of my family up north.
When I was looking through photo albums at my parent’s place the other day for these pictures I asked my Mom why they ever went along with me about the tree when it would have been so much easier to cut it down for my wagon. My Mom said, "You’re our little girl."
That just seems to sum it all up. The parade, Christmas and life in general. We do it all for the ones we love.
Merry Christmas everyone! Have a safe and happy holiday. XOXO