At Paine's, they have a tractor circling the property so that when you've got your tree, they help you haul it back. The tractor came just as we found our tree. An older man and a young boy dismounted and seeing the size of our girl offered to go get the chainsaw.
"No thank you, it's kind of a must we do it by hand," we explained. "It's a tradition." And then we told them the story about how we got engaged there at the farm two years prior. Both the man and the boy were those kind of old time Vermonters, stoic and reserved. Outwardly, they didn't seem to be very moved by our lovey, dovey story, or so it seemed anyways. But they were very helpful with the tree and we (er, Colin) sawed it down in record time.
The boy and his father drove us back to the lot. As we were dismounting the wagon, the man came up to us and dug around in his pocket. He pulled out a small ornament and handed it to us. It was a metal casting of a car with a tree on the roof rack. It was engraved with: Paine's Christmas Trees 2010.
He had few words, but they said a lot, "Because of your special story," he said.
We had got our garland and paid and were heading to the car when he found us again. "We had just one left," he said handing us another ornament. This time it was a metal star etched with a Christmas tree in the middle and the words: Paine's Christmas Trees 2008. The year we got engaged there.
We were so touched and full of gratitude. I think I even blushed. We thanked him warmly, got in the car and drove home with happy hearts.
I will remember that story every year when we hang those ornaments. Just as I will remember our trip to Paris when I hang the Eiffel Tower man, or our honeymoon when I hang the green and yellow pineapple, our wedding when we hang the paper cranes, or Austria when we hang the wooden star.
Later, that night at home when we were trimming the tree, every ornament that we pulled from the box brought back a certain memory, a wonderful memory. We would reminisce a bit, then pull another ornament from the treasure chest.
"It's like a memory tree," Colin declared. He positioned his traditional hand-made star on the tippy top and we stood back and admired our girl. She's may not be as tall as last year's or quite as special as our love tree from 2008, but she is a beauty and we love her.
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