December 12th is my dad's birthday, which also means it's time to hunt for a perfect Christmas tree. When I was a kid, my dad took tree-hunting very seriously.
This weekend, to honor the day of my dad's birth, we went out looking for a tree. It turns out that there are a few contrasts between tree-hunting in Naples and tree-hunting with my dad in the snowy mountains of Star Valley, Wyoming.
First of all, notice the greenery in Naples. This was never the case when I was a kid. There was always plenty of snow by this time of year.
Next, we did not have to purchase a permit from "Bart's" over here. Instead, we had to barter with the owner of the shrubbery.
In Wyoming, we would bundle up and hike all day long with no food or water until our snot and tears were frozen to our faces and we could not feel our toes. This year, we just had to drive until we found a place that sells live trees, and we got to stop for cappuccino along the way.
As a kid, after freezing to the point of numbness and finally deciding on a tree, we would have to cut it down and drag it all the way back to the car ourselves. This time, we had some help.
Believe it or not, there were some similarities I noticed, as well. We didn't just pick the first tree we liked, but drove around until we found the perfect one. My dad used to put bright orange flagging tape on a tree that he liked and then say, "Come on. We gotta look some more. There might be something better." And, even though I would cry every year when I was younger on account of my freezing feet, I remember feeling elated and giddy when we'd pick our tree, and I was always excited to do it again the next year.
I hope that Graham will look back on his tree-hunts as fondly as I do mine.
Thanks for making Christmas so much fun, Dad. Buon Compleanno!
And, War Eagle!