People pass in and out of our lives on a daily basis…. Some make an impression while others nothing more than a fleeting thought. The man about whom I am writing this morning, while unaware, I believe made an impression on more lives than he realized. He was a quiet unassuming man that would smile a shy smile were one to say this to him. My thought is he would just shrug his shoulders, saying he was just running his business and he was.
However, in this throw-away, fake, world one only had to go to the tree farm a day shortly after Thanksgiving to prove my point. Families there choosing their special tree. The one that would be perfect in their home. Whether they tromped out to cut one themselves or had searched the ones already cut. I often marveled at the patience of the men as they pull tree after tree up for examination only to return it to the pile until at last one was chosen. Other than the Nativity, in my own home, the Christmas tree is the most important decoration of the season. It must be live and it must be perfect.
Some people have personal shoppers, I had a personal Christmas tree man. While we were friends for years prior to his tree business, my fondest memories are of the perfect trees all those years. My preferred tree - the concolor fir. It is a magnificent long lasting tree. My personal tree man steered me to that tree over twenty-five years ago. Each year I would call announcing my visit. My tree man would cut several for my examination keeping them in the barn awaiting my arrival. Believe it or not, even then I would find it difficult to choose which tree was the “one.”
And then there was the year I was going to downsize. Instead of my huge tree the thought was that I would buy a smaller tree. While doubtful this would happen, my tree man did just as I asked cutting smaller trees. I settled upon one which fit easily into my van. When I arrived home, my neighbor was chatting with my husband. They ooed and ahhed over my tree.
“Do you have a tree yet?” I asked John. “No” he replied.
“Well you do now,” I said. I gave him the tree that just would not do and headed back to the tree farm. When I arrived, Don had a quizzical look on his face. I told him what happened.
He laughed and said, “Got anymore neighbors?”
The following fall he quipped, “Should I cut one or two trees for you?”
The last few years Sweet Petunia, her mom, and I have made our journey to the farm. During our last visit my tree man announced next year (2012) he would be in Naples Florida, however, I was not to worry - he had left instructions with his kids that Marilyn would be calling. I hugged him, wished him well… we took our perfect trees and left.
Last month, Don Shetler died. I was shocked to read of his passing. At the funeral home, “the kids” assured me what he had said about my tree choosing was true. As we talked about the trees one of his daughters remarked about the tree “over there.”
I looked “over there” only to see a small concolor tree, with a star containing a lovely poem, gracing thetree top. Next to the tree on a table were ornament shaped pieces of paper where one could write a memory then hang it on the tree. Looking beautiful, the tree was already filled with memories. My friend and I added ours.
We pass through this life ever so quickly not knowing what the next day will bring… how wonderful it is to leave behind happy memories. Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year!
Don Shetler and his trees added to that happiness. I look forward to 2012 knowing that my tree will be just as perfect. I am confident 'the kids' will carry on just fine, but I do have to say I will miss my personal Christmas Tree Man!!
© 2012 Musings by Marilyn - 6/3/12