The Frozen Christmas Tree Lot

by Mike and Mary Dougherty

As we parked our car in the Anchorage tree lot, we both started whining about having to leave the warmth of our car for the wind swept, freeze to death cold outside.

The year was 1971 and it felt like it was 150 below when Mary and I ventured out into the bitter Anchorage winter evening to buy a real Christmas tree.

Because I thought it would be nice to wait until just a few days before Christmas to put up our tree, we were forced to venture out on an Alaska night that was too cold for man, woman, or beast.

The tree lot we chose was on Northern Lights near Proctor's Grocery store.

As we parked our car in the tree lot, we both started whining about having to leave the warmth of our car for the wind swept, freeze to death cold outside.

The instant we got of our car, a huge gust of bitter cold wind hit us right in the face. Suddenly, Mary and I both knew that our Christmas tree selection was going to be a quick one.

As the frozen tree lot attendant walked up to us, he tried to out-shout the howling wind with "you two picked one cold evening for Christmas tree shopping." Through my frozen lips I answered "bbest way to gget a ggood ddeal rright?" But the lot attendant just shook his head "no" and shouted "take a look and let me know what you decide, I'll be over there next to my heater."

As Mary and I started looking at what was left in the well picked over tree lot, we noticed that most of the trees looked fairly scraggly. And as I looked over at Mary through my frozen eyes, I noticed that icicles were forming on her chin.

"How bout that one?" shouted Mary through her frozen lips as she pointed to a sort-of-a-tree. Suddenly a strong gust of ice cold wind knocked over three trees right next to us. In an instant the "sort-of-a-tree" Mary was pointing to began taking on the magical image of the perfect Christmas tree.

I looked back at Mary who now had two large icicles hanging from her chin. I nodded "yes", grabbed hold of the tree and quickly dragged it over the crunchy snow and back to the lot attendant.

We paid for the tree, tied it to our car and headed home.

After we put up the "sort-of-a-tree" in our living room and decorated it - the tree looked perfect. OK, not perfect, but pretty good for a "Charlie Brown" tree.

That was our second year as a married couple and if we live to be 100 years old, we will never forget that year's Christmas tree. Bbrrr.

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