Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Most Expensive Christmas Tree Ever!

So I finally got the last of the Christmas decorations packed away. It seems to always take much longer to un-decorate, than to decorate, and as one of my friends pointed out, “Nothing ever fits back in the box!” How true!

Before I leave the 2009 holiday season behind, I’ve got to tell you our Christmas tree story. Early in December, Randy and I decided to go on our annual Christmas tree-cutting expedition. We’ve gone up into the mountains each year we’ve lived in the Methow Valley—I think this year marks our 14th Christmas here. We’ve never had any problems—and didn’t anticipate any this time.

We drove several miles up a snowy, forest service road in our 4-wheel drive SUV. The snow didn’t seem deep, and we followed tracks on the road from other vehicles. Randy commented that there wasn’t any place to turn around, but I didn’t see any reason for concern. Then we were stuck. We couldn’t move forward or backwards. No traction. Randy tried all the usual tricks—rocking the car back and forth, gunning it, using pine branches under the tires for traction, and digging snow from around the tires. Nothing worked. (Except we did manage to cut a Christmas tree!)

The sun slipped behind the mountains quickly and it was pitch dark and very cold, with temps plummeting into single-digits. “O.K., we need Plan B,” we told ourselves. The thought of spending the night in our car with our dogs, Kramer and Kosmo, just wasn’t appealing. Fortunately, Randy was able to get cell coverage long enough to call a friend who called a tow truck.

Two hours later, headlights from the approaching truck illuminated the darkness. Only problem was they couldn’t get our car unstuck, so the car and illustrious tree stayed on the mountain. Good news: we got home safely to our cozy, warm home on a sub-zero night after being stuck for nearly six hours. Bad news: this was the most expensive tree ever! The $5 permit for our hand-cut tree eventually racked up a bill of $500 after all was said and done. Ouch! Randy decided instead of topping the tree with an angel or star, we would use a price tag instead. Lesson learned: next year we’ll buy our tree at Hank’s tree lot in Twisp.

The $500 tree is now in our back yard, where I can see it out our kitchen window—and be reminded of God’s grace and mercy to us, in spite of our many mistakes and shortcomings. That we can even smile and laugh about our latest adventure is proof that God is at work in each of us.

Happy New Year!

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