Oh! Christmas Tree

Many of my Christmas trees past have been determined by what new pet I had in my home. Would I dare hang the expensive Christopher Radko ornaments with a curious kitten on the prowl? Would I unwrap the precious ornaments from my childhood, rich with Christmas memories, while a rambunctious puppy flashed through the living room?

My first year with Chase, I thought that I would forgo the tree until he was older. My roommate, Regena, had other plans and we purchased a semi-dry and barely "live" tree from the Food Lion down the street. We had a choice of three as it was December 23rd and all the other evergreens had been long since purchased. We wrestled the tree into the house and as expected, we were unable to align it within the cheap metal stand. Resorting to fishing wire to aid the tree in a tall, straight stance, we spent fifteen minutes decorating it with the Barbie doll ornaments that Regena had collected for her daughter over the years. No lights, no garland, our no frills Christmas tree was ready for inspection by my 10-month old puppy and her completely insane cat, Samantha.

There was no time to place wrapped presents under the tree. Each of us had plans for the next two days that kept us away from our home. Christmas was over and I expected December 26th to be spent lazing around my home, enjoying the companionship that can only be given by cherished pets. Pets who were very hyperactive that chilly morning after Christmas. Samantha was crazily dashing through the house with Chase hot on her trail. I cringed as Samantha lunged for the tree and clawed her way up, bits of dry pine needles floating to the floor. The tree leaned precariously, hanging on by a thread, literally. Chase studied the tree with its newly acquired crazy cat and flung himself at the trunk. It was too much for the fishing wire and the tree crashed to the floor flinging out Samantha from the brittle branches. I rushed to survey the damage and attempted to upright the tree. Most of the ornaments and pine needles were on the floor and I wondered why I was even bothering.

Decision made, I stripped the tree of the remaining ornaments, and dragged it with its bent stand to my truck. My neighborhood of senior citizens were in their yards watching their newest episode of live Sarah Reality TV. This was the earliest that I have ever taken down a Christmas tree. Back inside, I finished cleaning up the needles and water from the hardwood floors and sat down with Chase to pluck pine needles from his white fur.

Pets, trees, even roommates and their animals come and go throughout the years but the memory of the three-day Christmas tree comes to mind once a year as I pull out all of the Christmas festivities and my artificial pre-lit sturdy Christmas "tree". I tend to do a quick survey of the pets in my house as I place the hardiest ornaments at the bottom of the tree with the rest out of paws reach.

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