Saturday, December 1, 2007

Searching For The Scent

Yesterday was put up the tree day. I was going to get a real one (a real dead one) but changed my mind after the third newspaper article that warned against mold in live cut Christmas trees. Kenzie and I both suffer from occasional allergies, so why take the chance.

I have a fake one that's about nine years old with hundreds of lights already on the tree. It doesn't drop its needles and it doesn't need a drink. What I miss about the real ones is the pine smell.

Last night we had dinner in a restaurant that was across from a large Christmas tree tent. It was me, Kenz, Daba and my son Mike.

Uncle Mike told Kenz that after dinner we'd go and smell the trees. He was giving her something to look forward to, an adventure.

It was dark when we left the restaurant and made our way across the parking lot. The Christmas tree store sparkled under a white canvas tent; white lights lit it like a circus in the dark.

When we walked through the chain link fence surrounding it we were greeted by a fellow with a large stick. Kenz took off to explore the rows between the trees.

"Its like a maze," she said.

Kenz listened as the clerk explained how the pricing worked. Within minutes, she knew how to identity the height of the tree by the large number stamped on the ticket. There were no prices on them, but they were expensive. I was admiring a seven foot Noble Fir, with shimmering blue green branches, a storybook tree that would be beautiful with my children's ornaments. It was a hundred dollars. The other trees filled the damp pavement, clumped together under the white tent. We had found a misty magical forest, chilled and imported from Oregon. I was so involved in the visual scene surrounding me that I had not noticed the smell.

"The smell is really getting to me, " said Mike.

I sniffed the air realizing that it wasn't pine that was making contact with my nostrils.

"Oh, you're right Mike, it smells like like..."

"Chicken, mom."

Next to the Christmas tree lot was a fast food chicken store. The fumes were filling the air, it was all I could smell, fried chicken and french fries.

"You mean you didn't smell that?" Mike asked me.

"Now I do, but I was looking at the trees, thinking of the costs and how my ornaments would look on them, I wasn't paying attention."

Kenzie was in on the conversation by now and the four of us were inhaling the air, searching for the smell of Christmas which was hidden in the fowl.

We laughed at the irony of it. My husband said if he hadn't just eaten dinner, the smell would make him hungry. Mike, who is getting a real tree for his house next week, said it was making him sick. Kenzie thought it was funny.

Now that I have my fake tree up, I love it. It is so simple to snap the three segments together, put the angel on top and plug it in. Kenz and I put on the ornaments and over the next month we'll move them around and put on more.

It's coming on Christmas, even if it doesn't smell like it.

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