Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Tree Hunting

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go, high ho a dairy o, a hunting we will go.

This year was the last year for Sinissippi Farm in Oregon, IL to be open for Christmas Tree hunting. The owners are retiring and their kids all have "real jobs" so, at this time, it's over. We had insider knowledge of the closing so my sister-in-law flew in for one last hunt with the family.

All of these people went to get one, yes only one, Christmas Tree.
The day started with the drive to Oregon, which is about 40 minutes or so. Or it really started with layers of socks and long underwear for me but let's not think about the cold.

We arrived and cuddled up to the fireplace in the gift shop. Once everyone else got in it was time to begin the hunt. Here's Ada getting her gloves secured for the hunt. Rick's parents bought their tree tag and we headed out toward the tree rows. Then we noticed the horse drawn wagons and we were just going to pet the horses when all of a sudden, the next thing you know, we're all on the wagon going for a ride and being delivered at the white pine tree section.

We unloaded from the wagon and began critiquing nature's work in search of the "perfect" tree. After much searching, debating, and judging, we finally selected a tree that was just right. The boys were getting ready to saw it down when Aunt Terri said "Where's Aunt Connie?" "We must have left her back at the gift shop."

Oops! As it turns out, Aunt Connie was going to do some shopping in the gift shop and catch up with us amongst the trees when she was done. Unbeknownst to her, we were on the other side of the river looking at trees since that's where the horses dropped us off.

Out come all of the cell phones with their various carriers and, of course, only one has service but that person doesn't have Connie's number so they enter Connie's number and try to call her and, of course, she doesn't answer. (Come to find out later that she didn't recognized the 312 number so she didn't answer it. Silly Aunt Connie!)

Meanwhile, I'm flagging down the horse carriage as it approaches to ask the passengers to watch for Aunt Connie when they get back to the main tree shaking area and let her know where we are. I give a brief description of her and they say "we'll try." "Thanks!" is my reply.

The guys are now cutting down the tree. Heather and Grandma Ba head back to the tree lodge on foot to find Aunt Connie. And the rest of us wait for the tree march where we all follow it back to the lodge.

While we were marching back with the tree, it turns out that Heather and Grandma Ba had been picked up by the horse carriage and were headed back to the lodge when Heather spotted Aunt Connie, lost among the trees. She says, "Hey, there's Aunt Connie!" and the driver says "Where?" Heather points her out and the driver yells "Hey Aunt Connie! They're over here!" to the ensuing laughter of the entire carriage of tree hunters. All was well with the world again.

Once we got back to the gift shop/tree lodge, the tree was put in line to be shaken and the rest of us headed in for homemade cider donuts, hot apple cider and coco, and a little someone had her first meeting with Santa. And since she's such a social little gal, she thought he was pretty cool and was just a little confused by his big beard.

Moral of the story: Family traditions make some of the best memories. Be sure to create fun traditions of your own to make the Holidays more than just a commercialized, materialistic frenzy.

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