We got our Christmas tree today. And just in the nick of time if you believe Mitchell at the green grocer. We have always waited until the 15th or so to get the tree but the kids were too excited to wait another minute. So, all bundled up, all in the car, work gloves and twine at the ready, inspired by last night's viewing of Christmas Vacation we headed to Get Fresh to procure our tree.
We used to live right around the corner from Get Fresh so frequented it for all our fruit and veg. Since we've moved to the new house I only get over there on the rare occasion or for special things like the tradition of buying our tree from Cormac. Cormac owns Get Fresh and we've known him from our first weeks here in Ireland. One of the first times I met him, I was chatting to a baby Rowan…something like, you're the most handsome man, I love you! Cormac, not hard on the eyes in a rugged Irish way, looked up stunned for a minute suspecting me of chatting him up. As is my usual skill of making a situation more uncomfortable I said, Oh, I'm talking to my son. Not trying to get fresh…..forgetting or maybe subliminally influenced by the name of the shop, Get Fresh. He chuckled and gave me a smile and from then on we were locals. Names were exchanged and greetings were offered every time I set foot near the leeks and parsnips. One of Rowan's first real words was 'Cormac' and now he's in the same class as Cormac's neice…..that's why people in this town look over their shoulder before a bit of gossip. It's very small.
Every year we buy our tree from Cormac. There's nowhere else we would go.
Back to today. We looked over the strangely meager offering of Christmas trees all bundled up like giants' wigs in enormous hairnets. How to tell which is best when you can't see them freed from their bindings? We had a few opened up to have a better look, they sprung out, boughs extending, needles flying. We chose the third one. Not too tall, not too full, the perfect Charlie Brown Christmas pine.
As we looked and chatted, Mitchell told us we were lucky to have come early this year. We were good not to have waited because apparently there is a shortage of trees this year--something to do with a seven year cycle. Next week there may not be a tree to spare!
It's such dire straits for Christmas trees in Ireland that the delivery driver from the little farm in the Wicklow mountains requested a gardai escort into town for fear of being hijacked for his bounty of decorative pines. Imagine the festive bandits; lying in wait for the Christmas tree truck to pass…..pouncing with ski masks, work gloves and twine to abscond with Ireland's last crop of Christmas cheer.
I'm waiting for the public service announcement: Don't buy rogue trees! Verify your supplier before you even think about twinkly lights and baubles…….there's trouble about!