I’m a member of the “Charley Brown Christmas Tree” delivery committee this year. These are small trees we order as a neighborhood, in bulk, then put up in our yards with lights, and it all looks real festive. They’re called “Charley Brown” trees because that’s what you get, even in bulk, for eleven bucks.
So I’m dropping these off one frosty morning at the front doors on my list, and I find that some people come out to complain. The tree we assigned them is too short, too fat, too skinny, too sparse, too uneven, etc.—and anything else over on the truck has to be light-years better than their miserable specimen.
This being the season of forgiveness and good cheer, I manage to locate some in one of my pockets. Then I dutifully bring over several more “Charley Brown”s for them to examine, each of which they poke and prod and fluff until saying they’ll grudgingly accept this one. But, they add with a huff, next year they expect a much better “Charley Brown” for their eleven bucks. I see why spots on this committee are always available.
As the morning develops the trees are getting “Charley”er and “Charley”er. It’s harder to find ones people will take, since we only ordered an exact number. Some folks are nice and take ones less than perfect.
Finally it’s all done. And whatever is lying sad and smooshed at the bottom of the truck bed are the ones the committee members are taking home. We playfully argue over them, grabbing, trading—sometimes offering the additional incentive of branches that have fallen off our trees.
Next year I think I’ll decline the committee. Seasonal forgiveness and good cheer are tough to come by two years running. I’ll still order a tree though.
And when it comes, I won’t complain. I’ll just take whatever they give me.
Unless it’s too short.