{ the tree }

{  An hour later }  two virginal tree buyers stepped foot onto Al's Tree Farm on Foothill Boulevard. I can only imagine how we looked, meekly poking at trees and murmuring to each other. We had no earthly idea what we were doing.

It could have been a Woody Allen movie.

"How about this one?" my short, slightly pudgy dad asked, standing next to a short, slightly pudgy tree.

"No way, dad." I said authoritatively. "This is the tree for us," said tall, skinny me, standing next to a tall, skinny tree.

It would have been funny if I hadn't been so terrified by the whole experience. All those bells and whistles in my brain that started ringing in December were going at full volume. You don't belong here.

I was convinced that Al, the surly guy behind the counter of the shack in the middle of the lot, would approach us at any moment and ask us for our papers.

Fighting the urge to panic, my father and I continued through the lot, instantly bonding with any tree that vaguely resembled our body shapes. We finally settled on a middle ground tree and headed for Al. Thankfully, he didn't ask us what we were doing there. He simply took our money, had one of his henchmen strap the thing to the top of my dad's car, and we were off the four whole blocks to our house.