THE GREAT CHRISTMAS TREE HUNT!
When I was in Grade Four, Dad, Vic Tribbick and Blaine Francis pooled their resources and bought Madden’s Lake. It was one of only three lakes that the land under the lake was privately owned. They leased the meadow to a rancher and fixed up the old cabin that was quite close to the shore. They built a dock that jutted out into the lake. Our families spent quite a bit of time at the lake.
In late November it was decided that they would go up one weekend and cut trees to sell as Christmas trees. Of course the kids would have to be involved! I remember Paul and Phyllis Tribbick, myself and Sandy, Mike Newman and Norman Francis were the anchors hired for this big expedition! Lawrence, Leanne and Norma were too small but they were there and Mike was just along for the ride.
When the appointed Sunday rolled around, Mom, Lily and Alice came up by car and the kids rode in the back of a couple of trucks. There were axes and saws, rope and even a couple of small ladders. The Mom’s had a back seat full of sandwiches, thermoses of hot chocolate and coffee, chocolate bars, candy canes and of course oranges.
It was a beautiful day…bright and clear and crisp. The snow crunched as we walked into the forest in search of the best trees. We kids were given a very serious lecture about staying near the adults so as not to get lost. As we walked along someone starting singing Christmas carols and soon the hills were echoing with The Sound of Music! (Couldn’t resist that line…lol.)
It didn’t take long to find a stand of beautiful trees of all sizes and the work began. Once the tree was down, the anchors (that was us kids) would carry the trees to the trucks and stand them up. When we got enough of the same size, we then had to lay them down in the truck. The next row of trees had to go in the opposite way to make sure they didn’t get all flattened out.
There was a lot of playing too while we waited for the trees. We made angels in the snow, built an igloo, a snowman or four, had a snowball fight or two. You never saw so many rosy cheeks in one little group!
Finally the trucks were loaded down with trees and now for the anchors to get into position. Dad and Vic grabbed onto the trees in the middle of the load and the two anchors Sandy and Phyllis crawled in…it was their job to hold the load or at least holler should something start to slide…LOL. Next load Paul, Mike, Norm and I crawled in to our appointed space between the layers. The ropes were brought out and the loads were tied down. Now, seriously, I don’t think we were much help in keeping the trees from moving, I know now that our parents figured we would just have fun doing it!
There was something magical about being surrounded by the smell of pine and fir, safely cocooned inside the layers of trees and being with our friends and family. We laughed and sang songs all the way home and hated it when the ride was over. Covered in needles we made our way to the front porch and got brushed off and then inside for hot cocoa and cookies.
We did this the next year and the year after until the lake was sold to the government. Some of the best memories come from simple things and I remember the Christmas Tree Hunts and the Tribbick’s and Francis’ with much delight.