Strip Trees

The quest for the best can get a little wild



Illustration by Brad Fitzpatric
 

With the Christmas season now behind us, I was helping my neighbor take down his “Cut Your Own Cristmas Trees” sign and tuck it away in the barn for another year. Neighbor Hank’s sign is kind of a local landmark prank as he deliberately misspelled Christmas just to see who is paying attention and who isn’t. “How was business this year?” I asked as we cleaned up and stowed gear away. “Well,” Hank says, “we did have some excitement one afternoon.”  

It seems that an attractive young lady from somewhere south of the border showed up looking for the perfect Christmas tree. She said she had never gotten a “wild” tree before and was thrilled to find so many “wild” trees growing in row after neat row at Hank’s Cristmas Tree farm. She then set out to find the very best tree on the property and soon came to an excellent one. But all around her there were so many more trees still to choose from, might there be an even better one?

Wanting to be able to find this special tree again in amongst all the others, and also to lay claim on this one to prevent it from being snagged by some other customer, she took off her scarf and tied it around the tree. Looking around some more, she found another possible “best” tree and marked it by putting her hat on top of it. At the next contender she left her gloves behind. When she wrapped her jacket around the next “best” tree candidate, Hank realized things could get interesting fast if he had another five or six trees that also appealed to her.

Hank thought he should assist the young lady by pointing out that there were another 150 trees down in the lower field over there. She should be sure and check them out because they hadn’t been picked through as much as the ones she was now sorting through. Delighted and enthusiastic, she headed for the lower field to continue her quest. As the proprietor of the establishment, Hank felt it was his duty to keep a close eye on the disrobing young lady just in case she needed help or something.

“Well, did she find more trees?” I inquired. “Oh yeah, several more,” Hank answered with just a bit of a grin. I pressed him for more details. “Well, just how interesting did it get?” Hank revealed that at the next beautiful tree, she shed her sweater and was down to a pink turtleneck, jeans and L.L. Bean boots. Anticipation grew when she found the next “best” tree. Hank’s pulse raced and he held his breath barely daring to breathe as he watched to see what would happen next.

She then pulled a packet of Kleenex out of her pocket and started marking the trees with tissues instead of garments. “Can you believe it?” Hank said “’Bout cried my eyes out!”

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