It was a gray Ohio day that day so long ago when my dad got me out of school early so we could go and pick out a Christmas tree. I was so excited to be spending the day with him, just the two of us! He knew I had high standards for Christmas trees and he also understood the temperament of a fifteen year old girl. He had unending patience.
We went from Christmas tree lot to Christmas tree lot looking for the perfect tree. It had to be tall enough, full enough and good on three sides. Tree lot after tree lot left me disappointed. I am sure my dad was getting frustrated. There were certainly several trees we had seen that were fine but I remained steadfast in my quest to find the perfect tree. It was getting later, colder, and darker when my dad finally uttered the words I knew were coming; "This is our last stop, find your tree." I wandered around the lot several times and did finally settle on a tree but to be honest there had been several others at previous tree lots that would have been far better than the tree I finally picked. I pouted the whole way home and did not say a word to Dad.
The tree was placed in the stand and set up in front of the large picture window in the living room. It was tall enough and fat enough but there were some noticeable holes on one of the sides. Dad never said a word but went straight to work. He cut off some branches in the back and set them aside. He took his drill and drilled holes in the trunk of the tree where the holes were and then stuck the branches he had cut off the back into the holes. He wired some branches to hold them in better position. The lights went on next, all blue, and finally the decorations. I continued to pout not having anything to do with the tree of the decorating. When the tree was finished I was called into the living room. It was dark outside. The living room lights were off but the tree was on. I stared in disbelief at the Christmas tree in front of me! It was beautiful! I didn't look at my Mom or my Dad. I don't know if my three brothers were in the living room with me but I was certain of one thing; that tree, my tree, was the most beautiful and perfect tree I had ever seen!
Forty one years later this is the tree I remember. This is the tree I will ALWAYS remember.
Thank you Dad for having the love and the patience to give your daughter such loving and lasting memories and the gift of your time! I miss you! Merry Christmas!