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Our Christmas tree this year is the culmination of quite a story.  It begins a few months back. . . no, actually it begins a few years back.

I’m part of a MOPS group.  Mothers of Preschoolers.  I don’t know how long this particular tradition has been going on, but for my past two years in MOPS, a local Christmas tree farm has donated a certificate for a free tree to be raffled-off at our December meeting.  Each year, I browse the other items on the raffle table.  At a quarter a piece, our raffle tickets can bring home some real bargains.  But I never consider the Christmas tree.  We have an artificial tree.  Real trees require some kind of special stand and watering, and I’m not familiar with all that having only experienced artificial trees.

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Now, back to a few months ago.

My in-laws moved.  They have been ‘real tree people’ in the past but recently switched to artificial.  We were helping them clean out their storage, sorting things to be donated, trashed or passed on to us.  Behold, a Christmas tree stand.  “Y’all don’t want that.  You have a fake tree, right?”  my father-in law said, quickly casting it in the donate pile. 

“Yeah,” agreed the Man of the House.  “We don’t need that.”

“Honey,” I timidly piped up.  “Maybe we do want that.  Y’know, just in case we ever decide to try a real tree.”  I’m thinking of the MOPS raffle.  I don’t dare mention it.  They would think I’m foolish for keeping something on the off-chance of winning a raffle.

“Okay,”  he complied, “but we don’t have room for it in the van right now, we’ll have to get it the next time we come visit.” 

So the tree stand went in my father-in-law’s van to be kept at his house until our next visit, and we continued sorting in the hot sun.

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Skip ahead a few weeks to the MOPS November meeting. 

For whatever reason, the Christmas tree raffle was in November.  I remembered my stashed-away tree stand and bought a few tickets.  Okay, several.  But only a few bucks worth.  I dropped almost all of them into the basket for the tree and put a few in for the gift basket or candle or whatever. Y’know, so I don’t seem over-eager. 

Again, I don’t mention the tree stand or anything.   I’m playing this cool.

When it came time for the Christmas tree raffle, my number was called.  “Oh, that’s me!” I casually called out.

Heheeheee. . . my plan was working out beautifully.

A few days later, I excitedly told my mother the good news about my free–well, almost free–tree!  “I’ve never had  a real tree!” I exclaimed.

“That’s because you’re allergic,” my dear mother informed me.

“Oh.”

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Our Thanksgiving visit with my in-laws was pretty busy.  Not a lot of time for digging through their stuff to find the Christmas tree stand. 

As we were packing up to leave, I reminded the Man of the House–my house, not theirs–and he asked his folks. 

“Oh, you wanted that?”  I guess Dad #2 hadn’t overheard our conversation. “I think it’s in the donate pile at your grandmother’s house.” 

Almost an hour away. 

In the wrong direction.

“Oh.”

“We can bring it to the birthday party.” 

Okay, I think,  so we’ll have to wait until after my daughter’s birthday party on December 12 before we can put up our allergy-causing tree.

I’m okay with that.

Never underestimate an optimist.

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting continuation. . .

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