I spent only one Christmas in the wonderful Chicago apartment I lived in by myself, GirlHaven (1999). Thus, it was again time to be filled with the awesome power of choosing my own tree. My friends A&D (not like the diaper-rash ointment) showed their excellent skills in Dropping By at Just the Right Time and arrived as I was on my way out the door to the tree lot.
Off we went, around the corner! I decided that I needed a small tree. It was a small apartment. Lying on the ground was a wee tiny thing still in its stretchy wrapping.
“THAT’S THE TREE FOR ME!” says I.
“Er, it hasn’t even unwrapped,” said the tree guy. “You have no idea what it looks like.”
“I LOVE IT FOREVER!” I declared. I did! It had Good Juju.
A (who wears the same size pants as I do) lifted the tree in one hand (it was about 4 feet tall), and we marched triumphantly back to GirlHaven to set the tree in its stand. My old stand (bought at the Maxwell St. Market for $3 on a blustery day) was almost 18 inches tall, so the tree was respectably about as tall as my head. We took off the wrapping!
“That’s a pretty skinny tree,” D said.
A was too busy giggling.
“No, it’s going to fall! It will be very fat!” Faith, you know, is a key ingredient in Christmas Spirit. In accordance with this, we named the tree Chubby. The Bedbug (my ex), for reasons unknown had taken nearly all the ornaments, so I had about 5 on the tree – sticking off the front, just like my first Chicago tree.
Chubby never did spread out, poor old thing. But it was the friendliest, happiest tree it has ever been my pleasure to know (and guilt to kill). It put out NEW SHOOTS. I bought it on 17 December and kept it around until it was well and truly dead, which was not until Groundhog Day. (I did take the ornaments off on Epiphany, as is right and proper.)
I have this theory that lights would be even more helpful in late January, when the weather has been horrid for what seems like forever. My friend Chubby proved it true. I felt so miserable about its sprouting and then dying, though, that this was the beginning of the end of my getting live trees.