Where are our Christmas Trees?

“Where are our Christmas Trees?”  Chapter 38 Or, “When the Gales of November Come Early”

The best-looking cut Christmas trees come from up north — usually Oregon or Michigan.

The freshest cut Christmas trees come in just before people are ready to take them home.

And that’s where the trouble begins. Often, when you wait till the last minute to cut the trees and ship them south, you are right up against Mother Nature and early snow storms.

That’s where we are again this year. Our Christmas trees were scheduled to arrive here on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. But they are stranded in Chicago. Maybe because of bad weather. Maybe because of a shortage of trucks. Who knows.

Upshot is, don’t expect to see fresh-cut trees in our greenhouses till Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. But, hey! They will be fresh!

We could have gone with an outfit that cuts the trees early enough they can avoid winter storms and keep them in a warehouse for a couple of weeks. But they would be already on the downhill slide by the time they arrived here. So we put up with the unexpected and carry on.

Some of the Sad Stories of Christmas Trees Past

  1. In our quest to find the best trees, Steve Hammonds went to Oregon one the summer, searched the tree farms and picked out exactly the trees we wanted AND PAID FOR THEM IN ADVANCE! Mid-November rolls around, and the guy who got our money won’t answer his phone.
  2. Different year — trees are paid for in advance and loaded on a truck bound for Texas. Truck driver decides to stop in Las Vegas for four days — of course, this was before trucks could be tracked by GPS or cell phone signals.
  3. Several different years — trees are cut and paid for and trucks are standing by at the base of the mountains where the trees are grown. Blizzard hits the mountains. Days pass. . .
  4. Perhaps my favorite:  Trucker loads the trees in Oregon, weather is holding good, and he starts out. Meanwhile, at the same time in another city, the trucking company he works for files for bankruptcy. The trailer our trees are loaded on is leased from a different company, which decides it should report the trailer as stolen out of fear this company won’t get its money from the bankrupt trucking firm. Our trucker crosses the state line into California, where he is stopped by the Highway Patrol for towing a stolen trailer. After many phone calls, the patrolman is convinced that the truck driver is not at fault and writes a letter explaining the situation, hoping it will grant safe passage to Texas.

(Oh, and the trucker’s company credit card is declined at every truck stop, so he has to use his own money to buy diesel so he can continue on his journey.)

Truck crosses into Arizona, where the AHP has received the same bulletin about stolen trailers. Our intrepid driver produces the “safe passage” from the California HP. Arizona trooper scoffs at this and hauls our trucker to the Kingman jail, where he languishes for 22 hours.

Arriving at Smith’s Gardentown a full week late, he spends hours on the phone trying to find out what to do with the trailer and how he can get home for the holidays.

The moral of this story:  Enjoy Thanksgiving with your family, then come pick out your nice, fresh Christmas tree a little later. We’ll be here, biting our nails.