November 26, 2022
It’s always been Momma’s choice in picking out the Christmas tree. My fave is the Concolor Fir tree with medium length needles that smell like oranges. Oranges! We almost always head up the mountain to a certain tree farm for my tree, but the Concolor crop has been dwindling year by year. I’ve settled for a Fraser Fir a few times, but I wasn’t happy about it.
Each tree has her own personality. And yes, they’ve all been girls. We had Big Betty in 2017 with her bad self and a trunk the size of an elephant leg. She pitched a hissy fit and threw herself down onto the floor and broke a few ornaments and the tree stand in the process. Then there was Eliza Jane in 2018. She was perfection, with straight as an arrow posture and a perfect shape without needing to be trimmed. Like many of us, she found perfection to be exhausting, and she could not maintain her A+ status. She was quite prudish, a temperance gal opposed to overindulging in drink. She decided to completely decline even her daily water, so she died a dehydrated death well before Christmas. Grace could feel my annoyance, so she and Chandler tossed her to the curb and replaced her with a store bought tree. I was introduced to Botox Bertha right in my living room after a long day at work. I was glad to have Eliza Jane gone, but it would take a minute to get to know this new plasticy make-believe Fraser Fir wanna be. So Botox Bertha was our tree for the rest of 2018 and for 2019. When 2020 rolled around, I wish I had just stuck with Bertha instead of looking for a live tree. And really after the disappointment of no decent Concolor to chose from, Eliza Jane’s untimely demise, and not knowing how to feel about fake Botox Bertha being chosen for me, I really just wasn’t quite ready to start a relationship with another live tree. I should have spent that Christmas season getting to know Bertha a little better. Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. But a local gal from Clemmons down the road, Darlene Fraser, unfortunately was my rebound tree. Meh. Just meh. The trip up the mountain in 2021 was another disappointment as there were no respectable Concolors to chose from. We brought another Fraser home, but I don’t remember her so she must have been more meh than even Darlene. Or was she less meh? Either way, she was forgettable.
I was emotionally prepared to be less than thrilled with the tree selection this year. I knew we’d at least have Botox Bertha at home even if we couldn’t get a Concolor. Since she came along, we’ve become a 2 tree household. The living tree waits for Santa beside the fireplace in the living room, while Botox Betty sits in the front room window. She’s an exhibitionist who wants to be seen. She’s pretty and she wears her prelit bulbs like tattooed eyeliner. But don’t be fooled; after 11 months of slumber in a box in the attic, this girl doesn’t wake up and roll out of bed presentable. She still needs some primping and fluffing before she’s ready for company. And as if she needed more attention drawn to her, this year she has Paul’s new train around her base. But anyway…we all drove up to the tree farm together the day after Thanksgiving. Long drive so I thought a trip to the potty would be wise before getting on the tractor to scout for what would surely be another Fraser for me, and whatever tree Grace, Eli, and Harry might chose for their family. And seriously folks, when there is a ridiculous line for the bathroom, why must you tarry so long? Get in, do what you need to do, and get out! But I waited and waited in line. Then I saw her. My Concolor Fir right there on display in the warm barn just beyond the bathroom line. Precut and ready to take home, but was she already spoken for? I sure as heck wasn’t getting out of the bathroom line just to find out her relationship status…single or unavailable. I texted my wing man Paul and sent him to find out. Good news! She was single and ready to mingle. My tree quest was complete before even getting on the tractor to ride up the mountain. But we did ride up so Grace could choose their family tree. She found a lovely 7 foot Fraser she named Ruth.
After the long drive back home, we all helped decorate my tree. It was Eli’s and Gavin’s job to give a fresh cut of the trunk and to upright her in the tree stand. Paul likes to trim and shape the branches even if they don’t need it. I put the lights on the tree with help from Grace (God bless that girl for tolerating me). Lauren and Emily mostly watched us reminisce as we picked through years of memories disguised as baubles and ornaments. Yearly ornaments with the names of each of the Mauks. Last year’s surprise ornament with Eli, Grace, and Baby. The Mississippi ornament for Gavin. The tea cup. The Nemo. The cardinal. The Biltmore. The one legged Santa (thank you Big Betty). The pickle. The angels. The fingerprint. The rocking horse. The Moravian star tree topper. So. Many. Memories.
She’s fully dressed now with all her accessories…lights and ornaments and topper. Her citrus perfume is strong, and she’s drinking well enough, thank goodness. I’m thrilled to have another Concolor Fir just like old times. I stood back to admire her and said “she’s glorious, but I don’t know what to name her.” I’m not sure if if it was Lauren or Grace or Gavin, or maybe all 3, who said “Gloria!” So Gloria it is. It fits. I love it. She’s tucked into the corner next to the fireplace, twinkling and shining. She will be a memory next year, but right now she makes me smile just watching the way she nestles all our memories in her branches.