When I was a boy, I spent a lot of time roaming through the woods. Usually I'd carry a hatchet and either my .22 rifle or 410 shotgun, and I'd be gone for much of the day. Those were very different times. I can't imagine spending the better part of a day with my children wandering Lord knows where. I want them close to my sights, if not directly in them, so I can be ready to rescue them from whatever crazy danger contemporary society might have in store for them. Ahhh...those were very different times indeed.
One of my annual chores was to hunt down a Christmas tree -- always a cedar; I didn't even realize there was any other kind till I was well into my teens. I'd usually have a spot already staked out and hoped I'd remember how to get back to it when it was tree cutting time. I'd try to find the prettiest, shapeliest cedar in the woods, and finding that perfect tree was always a thrill. I can't imaging getting that much deep-down joy from a video game! Dragging the tree out was always a challenge, especially having to tote a hatchet and rifle too.
Yesterday we went tree hunting. We wandered deep into the wilds of Walmart, right into the middle of the garden section, and there it was. A 7-foot Douglas Fir -- it assembles in three sections and comes pre-lit! I never saw one of these in the woods. Dragging it out was still a chore, because for some reason we'd completely forgotten to get a shopping cart. No fear -- He Man is here. I hoisted the box over my head by the straps, and we began the retreat to the checkout counter. Trudging through Walmart holding a boxed fake tree over my head, I felt somewhere between extremely virile and very foolish. Confused shoppers gave me plenty of room.
The tree's in the attic now. We have to clear out a spot to put it. At least that part's the same as when I was a boy. Gabriel was upset that we got a pre-lit tree. "But I wanted to put the lights on!" he said. "What are we going to do with the lights now?" I told him to decorate the outside of the house or the yard -- anything. But if he puts them up, he takes them down. I've done my chore.