I text, "In 5 minutes."
The phone rings. "Hello, Handset 1, this is Handset 2. Could you come upstairs?"
I go to his bedroom. "Wow, Handset 1, it's nice to finally meet you," he began, and then asked if we could get a Christmas tree. Sure, I replied. I have a rule that if I have to push the Christmas tree boulder up the hill, as in thinking of it, going out to get it, paying for it, decorating it by myself, it's not going to happen, but if a young person wants to get involved, sure, lets do it.
"Where do you want to go to get one?"
I want to go in the woods and cut one. A Christmas tree makes the house smell so nice. That's what I want it for."
"You mean the woods right outside?"
"Um, that's not exactly legal."
"Mom, my father and his father before him did it that way. His father was in the war, tho. But I'm going to do it that way too."
This forest was clearcut 20 years ago, and replanted with seedlings at that time, so everything is the same age and about 60 feet tall. I'm pretty sure we won't find anything, so I don't feel so bad. "Really, you think we could find something out there?"
"Yup. Let's go."
"Mom, an axe. That's how its' done."
"No, R., people get a Christmas tree with a saw."
"Have you not heard of Paul Bunyan? He totally used an axe."
He dons his bright orange shorts, bright red hoodie, and leather fingerless gloves, grabs the axe, and starts down the trail. I follow him. After about a hundred yards, he starts to notice that there are no Christmas-tree sized trees.
"Mom, did you do one of those kid things?"
"You know, like when a little kid says, 'Let's go catch sharks in the lake!' and you kind of go along, like 'OK, honey, we'll give it a try', even though you know for sure there aren't sharks?"
So we walk for a little bit, and see a bunch of holly trees. Holly is pretty invasive, so I suggest we cut one. It seems pretty Christmas-y, and also really low impact. R. agrees. The trees are about 20 feet tall, but we pick one with berries, and R. starts hacking away at it with his axe. It takes a while, and I'm itching to use my cordless sawzall, but I restrain myself. He's axeing away like Paul Bunyan.
Eventually, it's falls down, and we drag it through the woods back to our house. We have to cut most of it off so it can fit in the door, but it looks festive. Some of the red berries didn't get knocked off during the long drag through the woods still clumped on the branches.
We put it in the tree stand and bring it inside, and put a few lights and decorations on it. "Um, does it smell like cat pee in here?"
Let me remind you all, I have no cats. I have no idea why this holly tree smells so strongly of cat pee. but there you have it.