When I was growing up, our family had a plastic artificial tree that was brought all the way from Texas (where I was born) to Virginia when I was just a baby. Somehow that thing lasted into my early high school years. Even long before then, though, it was bent, warped, dotted with melted spots from hot Christmas lights, a couple of branches were broken and the thing hardly stood up and looked quite pathetic. After that, we opted for real trees that filled the house with their piney aromas.
Getting a tree from a tree farm has been a family tradition but for my mom and my brother....not me. This is the first time that I was able to join them on the good old tree hunt since I just recently escaped a religious cult earlier this year.
I've always loved tree farms because pine trees (all kinds) are some of my favorite trees. They make me think of snow, thick northern forests and the excitement of Christmas. In the past decade, I'd see a Christmas tree farm with all their perfectly shaped, conical, deep green trees lined up in rows...so many pine trees in one spot! I'd secretly have a moment of fleeting excitement that I'd have to quickly beat down into submission and divert my eyes so as not to be tempted. You see, anything related to Christmas was considered evil by the cult. But this year, I was able to let the sight of a tree farm build up excitement in my chest to the point of bursting.
My mom and my brother and I excitedly piled in the car to head to Penland Tree Farm to get the 2019 Laidlaw/Richie/Dodson family Christmas tree. Of course I brought along my camera to document every single detail because every little bit of it was new and exciting.
The farm did not disappoint! They had an adorable country store, a snack shack, a fire pit, hot chocolate and plenty of photo ops.
After it stoped pouring rain (eye roll), we wandered through the rows, up and down....me mainly taking pictures of every blessed thing in sight, while Mom wanted me to help pick out a tree, but I was just so excited to have a tree, I didn't much care what it looked like! We found "the tree", went to work with cutting it down and then Sean, being the man of the house, hauled it back to the tree shed to be shaken, leveled and tied.
We shoved it into the car through the trunk with part of it laying on the backseat - that was a bit of a scene. Both my mom and I have chronic debilitating health issues, so our strength is nearly non existent and since Sean is Sean, he's not the most coordinated fella there ever was. We always joke and say if you put all three of us together, we may equal that of one healthy person. But WOW the car smelled amazing on the ride home.