OK, regular readers, the following may look a little familiar but it's new and improved. As often happens with me, I take a blog entry and then expand and enhance it and use if for my Lifestyle column in the paper on Sunday. What follows is the column from this past Sunday.
Jilda and I are NOT early celebrators of Christmas. In fact we're more like Loretta Young, in the old black and white Christmas movie "The Bishop's Wife," who put their tree up on Christmas Eve.
We'd planned to go last Saturday, to pick out a tree, but obstacles kept popping up and Jilda said, "We'll go tomorrow (Sunday)."
That was before we watched the weather forecast which called for winds out of the north at near hurricane force, snow showers and an outside temperature cold enough to turn your tongue into a Popsicle if you were foolish enough to stick it out at someone. Note to self - keep tongue in mouth.
There are many times the weatherman points to globs of green, yellow, and dark red things on the TV screen and jabbers about impending "bad weather". Oftentimes they overreact, but they nailed Sunday's forecast.
As the coffee brewed Sunday morning, I looked out the garden door toward the barn and saw snow blowing horizontally. When I stepped outside for an old fashion weather report, I cursed the weatherman under my breath for being right.
Later in the day we bundled up as tight as link sausages and headed off to the tree farm. We arrived just after they opened the gates, and no other customers were in the parking lot. The tree-digger-upper-guys were bundled up and wore ski masks which made them look like liquor store bandits. When they heard me shout - "Is anybody home?" they peeked their heads out of the heated shed, and they didn't look too happy to see us.
Once I started moving around, I actually began to feel my feet. Jilda loves cold weather, which is a character trait that I blame on the fact that her family lived in Chicago during her formative years.
My macho streak wouldn't allow me to whine about the cold, so we ambled off into the howling snow-flecked wind as if we were strolling arm and arm down the Vieux Carre in July.
I found a good looking tree and shouted over the sound of the wind to Jilda - THIS ONE LOOKS NICE. A cloud of mist billowed from my mouth and I'm sure from a distance, it looked like my lungs were on fire.
Jilda liked the tree, but wanted to BROWSE a little more. My eyes felt like frozen grapes. After a while longer, we found a great Christmas tree and the young liquor store bandits dug that baby up and had it in the back of the truck in record time. I gave them a nice tip, but I doubt it kept them from dog-cussin' us for taking them away from their warm fire during the blizzard.
We went inside, and as we paid for the tree, the heavenly aroma of hot apple cider wafted up my frozen nose. One of the tree-guys poured us a cup, and we walked around the gift shop sipping our cider.
I found myself thinking as we left the tree farm that I was glad we came Christmas tree shopping during the "great snow storm of 2010." My old friend John Hamilton Elliott, said it best -- "fun ain't cheap." If we had come on Saturday when the weather was nicer, I wouldn't have had anything to write about this week.
Looking back, our little adventure put us both in the Christmas spirit. In fact, as we drove away from the tree farm, the tune to "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas" drifted through my head, and I had to smile.