(Photo by me, Tasha)
I’d like to share with you one of my family’s traditions. When my family and I came to live in Wyoming in 1994, we started a family tradition with my sister and her family, which we still practice today. Every first Saturday of December, we go up to the mountains to hunt for that Perfect Christmas Tree. Perfect has a very relative meaning in this subject. The mountain-harvested Christmas trees do not look like the tree farm bought trees that have a perfect, robust, and green appearance. The perfect mountain-harvested Christmas tree is something the tree farm owner would discard in the landfill. Unfit for the market! You know that saying, “A face only a mother could love,” right? Well, it applies in this situation also, especially that we’ve worked hard to find it and bring it home.
We may never have a perfect tree farm bought Christmas tree, but we’d never give up our tradition for one, either. We treasure our tradition because it gives our families another reason to get together, go up to the mountains, and enjoy a fun-filled day. First, we gather at my sister’s house and then leave when everybody’s present and accounted for. Laramie is only 45 minutes drive from Cheyenne, but it never fails that we stop at this fishing tackle store there, just off I-80, before heading up into the mountains. I suppose it’s a part of the tradition, too. It wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t stop.
On our drive, the kids are talking through the two-way radios. When the kids were little, there were just two vehicles and two 2-way radios. This year, there were four vehicles, so there were four 2-way radios. We make jokes and make comments about anything and just have fun using the radios along the way.
Once in the mountains, we park our vehicles alongside the narrow road. (You don’t want to go too far to the side or your truck drops off into the snow drift-covered ditch and you get stuck in the snow—four wheel drive and all.)
For all the years we’ve been going up there, we always park and walk into the same area. We’re traditionalists, I suppose. We routinely see snowmobiles whizzing up and down the sides of the roads. One of these days, we’ll join them. We’ve been telling ourselves that—year after year, but still haven’t gotten around to doing it. Maybe next year. Yeah, right.
We put our snow boots and snow shoes on. (Hubby usually helps me put mine on.)
Off we go. Many times we’re the first humans to walk through the virgin snow. We see deer and rabbit tracks, but that’s about it. We’ve been up there in different weather conditions—pleasant to bitter cold, snow falling and/or blowing, white-out or blizzard, cloudy and sunny. This year, it was a gorgeous, sunny day. My family and I walk all over, stopping occasionally to take pictures and to critique each potential candidate until we find our perfect Christmas tree. Once we make our choice, we cut it down and then drag it to the truck, huffing and puffing.Hubby and his saw.
My brother-in-law usually brings a pot of his favorite chili recipe, which he heats up on his camping stove. My sister boils some water to make hot chocolate. I then bring out the shredded cheese, Chili-Cheese Fritos, and some desserts from our vehicle. We sit in camping chairs that my brother-in-law carries in his truck all year round, while the kids go sledding.
This year, one of my nieces towed the others up the road while they rode the toboggan that was tied to the back of her truck. Once up on the summit, they’d untie the toboggan and, then, off they’d go down the slope. They’d repeat the same maneuver until lunch is ready. Of course, it’d take forever to get them over to eat. There’s just something magical about eating piping-hot chili and drinking hot chocolate out in the cold outdoors. They taste heavenly. When the kids are done eating, they’d go back sledding until we’re packed and ready to head home.
This is our Perfect Christmas Tree after hubby decorated it with glass ornaments, white lights, and gold and silver balls.
Because Gabe gets into everything now, we hardly put Christmas decorations out, especially the breakable ones. We still put a few out that are not breakable.
Our Son and his son, Gabe.This is Gabe, smiling at you.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you share some of your family traditions, as well.
I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to you, my friends, for not having visited your blogs lately. The past two weeks have been so hectic, meeting friends for breakfast or lunch, attending parties, going shopping, Christmas decorating, and just meeting everyday life’s demands and responsibilities. Don’t think one minute that I’ve forgotten about you; I have just been very busy. And it looks like it will be this way at least until after the second week of January. By then, I’ll have put on another 20 pounds. I’ll be Mrs. Pillsbury Dough Boy, for sure.
In closing, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous New Year!