The Suitcase Lady


December 23, 2008, 10:16 pm

Your children should never forgive you for certain things. In my case it would be the living Christmas tree.

Like many disasters, this one started with the noblest intentions. I had read that in many parts of the country people bought small, real pine trees balled in burlap for their Christmas trees. After the holidays, the tree was moved to a patio or deck and then planted when weather allowed.

Our nurseries in Wisconsin are all closed for the winter as our yards are solidly frozen.

So I was delighted to spot a nursery in South Bend, Indiana, that had rows of these living Christmas trees for sale. Our family was returning home from a Thanksgiving trip, our two children tucked in the back seat. I must add that we have never owned a large car.

I rallied the troops. “We can do this”, I pleaded. “It’s only 170 miles. We can save a tree.”  The kids were aghast, but they stoically allowed us to jam the tree with its sizable earth ball between them in the back seat.

Somehow our mobile nursery arrived home, and the tree was appropriately adorned for the season. The kids would have preferred a 10 footer. After New Years, the tree was removed to the deck to await Spring’s arrival. In Wisconsin a four month wait is de rigueur.

My husband dutifully dug the hole as soon as he could get his shovel into the ground. The little tree was planted with high hopes. I’m sure you all know the 3 word outcome of this story. The tree died. To which I will add that my son plans to spend the rest of his life in California, a state where living Christmas trees stand a fighting chance.

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