The Gift, Chapter One-Tree Farm

THE GIFT-Chapter One-Tree Farm

“There is the farm,” said Morty to himself. “Look at all those trees.”

He came to the sign: Covert Tree Farm, Christmas Trees for Sale. Morty slowed Sky-scooter, and made a sharp right turn into the opening between the trees. The gravel drive wound through a grove of spruce trees. The tall trees shaded the forest floor, and kept it dark.  Occasionally, a bird flitted from tree to tree and sang a sweet song. A beam of sunshine peeked through. God is shining a spotlight on me he thought. The ferns under the spotlight were lime green surrounded by dark green in the shade.

“These twists and turns are fun,” he said to Sky. He talked to his scooter whenever he was alone. Morty steered through forest leaning one way, then the other. His curl swayed from side to side. He was anxious to find the perfect present for his Boss. An opening of bright light led into the meadow where the farmer lived.

He spotted the sign for parking, and another sign on the barn stated rules for cutting Christmas trees.

1. Cut the tree at the ground. Do not cut in the middle.

2. Use only the saw provided.

3. Bring your tree to the barn for wrapping.

4. Trees are $8.00 per foot.

Morty grabbed a saw and jumped onto the hay wagon behind the tractor. A cow mooed, and the horse whinnied in the barn. Chickens wandered all around the barnyard pecking for seed. He sat and looked around while he waited for the farmer.

Gosh, look at all those trees. They surround the entire pasture as far as I can see. He daydreamed while he sat waiting.

Farmer Jim raises trees. He sells some at Christmas, and takes the large ones to the lumber mill in the town. He plants replacement trees to keep the forest alive. It takes fifty years to grow a tree big enough to sell for lumber, and twelve years to grow a tree tall enough for Christmas.

Morty sat staring at the trees and talking to himself. I love coming to the tree farm. It is fun to explore the woods. The forest is beautiful, peaceful, quiet, and majestic. I talk to them and they talk to me. When we are alone I hug them.

Farmer Jim had a secret grove of old trees. He never cut these trees nor did his father, grandfather, or great-grandfather. His great-grandfather told him that they were there when he came to the farm in 1875. Some of them were two hundred feet tall. Morty discovered the grove last year, and fell in love with the old trees. His favorite was over two hundred years old. It lived through much of the history of our country. The big tree was a teenager when the very first settlers moved to the valley from the east.

I have to find a tree to give to baby Jesus on his birthday. I will invite my friends to help decorate, and make it special. The hay wagon jerked forward, and broke his thoughts. He was on his way to find the perfect tree.

Kick It Into High Gear

It is time to reflect on the past year and to account for the precious time granted me by the Lord. I struggled with my accomplishment list as I took inventory of what I did. I recalled that during my working years, at the end of a busy day, I often told my staff, “Well, we didn’t get much done today, but we will give it hell tomorrow.” So here goes my advice to myself, “Well Joe, you didn’t get much done in 2010, so give it hell in 2011.”

My accomplishment list is short this year, but the projects were larger. Here is a short list of things I am proud of:

I posted one hundred and seventy-five pieces on my BLOG. Among these posts were fifty-six political cartoons. Some of them were genius, others mediocre.

I wrote two children’s stories and submitted them to publishers: “FLYING TO THE SUN,” and “MOON CAKES TO GO.”  I rewrote a children’s story titled “FIRE FLY AIR FORCE,” for summer, and two Christmas stories, “SANTA IS MISSING, and “THE GIFT,” in time for Christmas.

Peggy and I spent twelve weeks basking in the sunny climes of Arizona while my kids stayed home to shovel snow. We visited cousins and friends in California.

Lion Joe organized and led the STRIDES: Lions Walk for Diabetes Awareness, with a team of really great Lincoln-Way High School teachers, and Lions.

In between those activities, Grumpa Jose  kept the garden in order, and the lawn maintained. This is the first year, I was proud of the green grass in front of our home. While I was tending the front with loving care, the backyard lawn turned  into thistle and chickweed.  Jose also waged a war with the Wabbits and built barriers around his flower beds. The Wabbit wars were documented on the BLOG. Just as the fence along our southern border fails to keep out drug runners, my fences were no match for the Wabbits. It turned out that West Nile virus is a more effective deterrent. While I waited for the virus to kick in, the Wabbits consumed my prize perennials.

In order to keep my sanity during this activity called 2010, I kept calm and chilled by consuming eight cases of red wine. Of all the accomplishments, the wine tasting was my favorite.

Finally, here is some  wisdom for my friends:

I know you didn’t get much done in 2010, so kick it into high gear, and give it hell in 2011.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Christmas Stories

Thank you for reading my story Santa is Missing, and for all the complimentary comments. I truly appreciate your  kind words. If you missed a chapter or want to start from the beginning, just click here: Santa is Missing. All ten chapters are linked and indexed for your convenience.

For new readers, who have not had the opportunity to read the 2009 story titled The Gift, I am publishing a completely revised version this year. The first part of eight begins on December 16, and will run daily to completion near Christmas eve.

I liked The Gift because it challenged me to express my personal views on Christmas and God.  If you wish to read a simple warm story about an angel who decides to give the Boss a gift for Christmas The Gift is for you. I hope you take my challenge and read it. I also hope it leaves you with a warm glow in your heart about Jesus Christ and Christmas.

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