I’m at my grandparents house right now, dad’s side of the family. They are in DC this weekend and I’m staying here to keep the dog company. He’s so needy. But adorable, so it’s ok I guess. I’m going to be covered in dog hair from now till Monday.
I am pretending I’m an adult, and this is my house that I live in alone. I’m playing David Bowie really loud (The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud, new favorite) and pretending this is my office and that I have the whole weekend ahead of me to hang out here and do what I wish. In my imaginary weekend I could do any number of things, hang out in bed all day reading the book I started the other day (Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman) or wander to all the different rooms of the house to read, any of the 4 bedrooms, trying out all the beds and seeing which natural lighting is best. I could hang out outside in the expansive backyard here, walk through the woods like we used to when we were kids, the cousins, brother and I, and see if there are any traces left of the many teepees we were always building. I would probably drive the golf cart through the long retired Christmas tree field, through all the new paths and remember.
Selling Christmas trees back in the day was the best job a kid could have, the best job anyone could have really. I don’t just have happy memories from those winter days; I have extraordinarily happy memories of those chilly pine smelling days. I don’t remember how many years we did it, or how old I was exactly, I just remember being absolutely one hundred percent happy driving the golf cart around and helping people drag their trees to the bailer and watching my dad and Granddaddy hook um’ up and watching as they magically became half their size with in the blue plastic netting. Grandmother sold hot cider and Christmas cookies at the little shack near the road as well as wreaths she made herself. I guess you could say mine and James’s job was customer service; we basically just looked cute and pretended we were helping them in some way.
I have this other memory of learning to spell my own name outside in the Christmas tree field. I know this memory must not be a real one, but it’s there none the less. I remember someone helping me write my name on a piece of paper and I rewrote it a few times, and when I finally got it without looking I wrote it really big on the other side and stuck it in a tree like a flag saying “look at me I can spell my own name!” Now, I’m sure the dates of the events and my age will not add up to support this memory, but you never know, I was always a little behind when it came to learning.
All I know is that selling Christmas trees is still to this day the most satisfying job I have ever had. Even when it was freezing cold and my little fingers were white and bloodless, even when I had sap on every part of my body, ruining whatever coat and gloves I was wearing, and even when people’s dogs barked at me, I loved it. I was excited to go every day and was sad to see the day end. I looked forward to it every year. The winter Grandmother and Granddaddy told us they were not selling Christmas tress anymore was the most disappointing winter of my life.
I can only hope I find another job someday that will make me as happy as selling Christmas trees did. In my fictional weekend I will go back in time (for anything can happen in fiction, especially on the weekends) and sell Christmas trees, even though it’s October and has not yet been truly cold. I will sleep in till eleven, read in bed till one, write a fantasy novel about the tiny people that live inside brilliant people’s ears and whisper them ideas all afternoon and then help a family of three pick out their perfect Christmas tree to fit their small house with extraordinarily tall ceilings and very little floor space.
"It's really Me
And really Me
It's so hard for us to really be
And really Me
You'll lose me though I'm always