Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Runaway Christmas Tree

Right now I know a lot of folks are picking out their Christmas trees and getting them up, so I thought this would be an appropriate story to share. This happened back in the late 60’s. We lived on a farm and at Christmas time we always got a cedar tree from somewhere on the farm. My Dad farmed but during the winter months he worked 2nd shift at a tobacco plant to make extra money. So this particular evening my Mom and I were home alone. I decided to go get the tree. I had a pony (P Jack) and a mare. I did not have a pony saddle so I put the mare’s saddle on the pony. I got a hatchet and rode the mare bareback. I knew the pony would follow us wherever we went. There was just a little snow on the ground. I rode about ¾’s of a mile from the house where some cedars grew along the hillside. I got off and I tied both animals to a tree so they wouldn’t wander off while I picked out the right tree.

I chopped down the tree and my plan was to tie it to the saddle on the pony and he would carry the tree home, just following us along. I had what we called sea grass string with me, which is also baling twine. I used that and I managed to tie the tree onto the saddle and hoped it would hold. Well, I still think it would have if the pony had cooperated. I got on the mare with my hatchet in hand and started towards home. We had only gotten out of the trees and started up the slope when the tree slid over to the side and fell part of the way on the ground. The pony got scared of the tree then and took off running dragging the tree behind him. There he went around the hill dragging the tree through hardened (thank goodness) cow piles and through the light snow that was on the ground. It was getting dusky dark by that time and I can still see him running around that hill dragging that tree and I get tickled every time I think about it. P Jack and that tree! Then when he was dragging the tree the mare became frightened and I thought she was going to rear up so my first instinct was to get off, especially since I had no saddle and carrying a hatchet! I got off her and tossed the hatchet over to the side. He made two circles around the hill, and then P Jack came running straight for us. That sacred the mare more than ever and I was hold of the reins saying, “Whoa girl, steady now.” She was jumping back and pulling against the reins and me trying to hold her and calm her. I managed to hold her and P Jack ran right up to me and stopped dead still. I was so mad at him! He didn’t care though. He had always been ornery when he wanted to be.

I got the tree off of him and decided it would still do for a Christmas tree. Thankfully he had not run it through any fresh cow piles or it would not have done at all! I ended up carrying the tree and hatchet and leading the mare. P Jack followed grandly behind us as if to say, “I got out of carrying that tree home!” I thought he had a smug look on his face.

When I got close to the house I met Mom. It was practically dark by then and she was worried. I told her what had happened! But the tree turned out to be okay and made us a nice Christmas tree that year, even if it had been a runaway tree!

11 Comments:

Blogger Ontario Wanderer said...

Neat story! I too grew up on a farm with the same tradition and, just this year, I decided to renew the tradition as paying upteen dollars for a tree every year seems a bit crazy when we have trees on the property. I went out to the road and collected two small spruce trees that had grown from seed in the ditch. One will come into the house in a week or so. The other was a birthday present for our 1 year old neighbour. Oh yes, one difference, we always dug up our trees so we could plant them again. When I do buy a tree, it's alway one I can plant. I have about a 50% success rate of keeping them alive.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Triplet Dads said...

that's a great story. Our Christmas tree fell over the other night so I have tree stories on my mind... Merry Christmas!

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

Why is it when you have a chore to do, and animals are involved, things never go as you planned? Contrary damn things. Funny story though.

9:17 AM  
Blogger David said...

What a great story. But of course this city boy would have a hard time understanding all that. We bought our trees and now use artificial. The one time we went and cut our own tree, it was a nightmare.

Cedar - now that is a bad subject this time of year in Austin. Cedar fever starts in a couple of weeks and many, many will be really sick for two to three months.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Ivy the Goober said...

cute story! I thought there at the end you were going to tell us that your mom asked why didn't you get the horse to carry it back for you ;)

10:34 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I liked picturing that story in my mind. I have to say it looked pretty funny!
That tree took a beating, but I'm glad it worked out well for the family.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Cliff Morrow said...

A great memory Rachel. Thank you for sharing. I've got my share of uncooperative horse stories. I guess if you don't have a lot of contrary horse stories, you haven't been around horses much.

1:53 PM  
Blogger YoderMan said...

HEHE... good story :)

7:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

That's a great tale. You did a good job telling what the horses were thinking and letting us visualize their emotions.

I have stubborn horse stories too. Who is next to share? Jim

11:33 PM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

This is a wonderful story Rachel..Your life on the farm with your family is so wonderfully rich, the way you tell it,I swear I can see it all....I know I've said this before, but it is true. Every time I read your blog I think....this is so visual..it would make a great movie!!!

2:09 AM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

This is a wonderful story Rachel..Your life on the farm with your family is so wonderfully rich, the way you tell it,I swear I can see it all....I know I've said this before, but it is true. Every time I read your blog I think....this is so visual..it would make a great movie!!!

2:09 AM  

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