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 Category:  Biographical Fiction
  Posted: December 9, 2020      Views: 78

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 ABOUT
MARY VIGASIN 
Retired property insurance underwriter
Have too many cats. kind and sweet husband
HS in 1964
graduated from college in 1999 with a BS degree. (no it did not take me 30 years to get through college) I went 7 years in night school.

She is a top ranked author at the #17 position.

She is also an active reviewer and is holding the #51 spot on the top ranked reviewer list.

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On buying our Christmas tree
"Our Christmas tree" by Mary Vigasin



Benny, the tree guy, was back at his corner selling Christmas trees.

Back then, if you did not have a car, you went to Benny who sold trees that were lined up against a fence. My brother John, myself and my younger sister, Cathy, always went together to buy a tree. Benny would sit in his car smoking while we scanned all six of his trees.

"Hurry up and pick one," Benny would yell as he got out of the car. "I don't have all night!" Considering the cold weather, an unshaven Benny was dressed in a thin leather jacket, jeans, and wool cap with the ever-present cigarette dangling from his mouth.
Picking one out was more of a problem with my brother, John. It was not the perfect tree that John was looking for.

Ever the pragmatist, every year when we went to buy a tree, John would howl at the cost. It did not matter it cost $10 or $15 dollars, he would point out that we are spending money on a tree that would end up in the trash.

John has an engaging smile; a smile no doubt inherited from my Irish grandfather as John had many of the same features, round face, prominent chin, dark hair, and a habit of holding tight on to every dollar. In flashing that smile, you never know if he is kidding us or serious. He once suggested that we wait until the day after Christmas to get a free tree. As expected, we protested not knowing his motive.

"Which one is the cheapest?" John asked Benny. "This one." Benny picked up a small, nearly bare tree. But then came that smile from John. Was he serious?
"No, we want this one." Cathy protested, pointing to the largest tree leaning against the fence. "I will tell Dad." I knew how to get my way.

John reluctantly gave Benny twenty dollars. There was no netting on the tree, so we picked it up and carried it to our apartment. We forced the tree through the apartment door and up the steel stairs to our apartment.
The staircase was left with such a long trail of needles and branches, we could have put lights on the stairs for an instant Christmas display.

We always had a large tree but with a too small a tree stand. We would put it in a corner that had a window on each side so we could tie the tree in the middle with ropes and then nail the ropes to each window to keep it straight and standing.
The other reason it went in the corner was that Benny's trees were terribly flawed. We would put the worst side of the tree in the rear between the windows. There were trees that were bare on one side, trees that had bent or missing branches and in one case, a tree that when it thawed, fell out with a very full bottom and a full top. However, the middle of the tree was bare, and the trunk veered to the right and then back to the center and then straight up. At least when we disposed of it, we had a natural handle to carry it out.

In a few years, Benny left to sell trees in the warmer Florida weather, but by that time, I had a car to go to the nearest tree lot.
The trees in the lot were full and nearly perfect. In wandering around the lot, one of the sellers, a man dressed in a Santa suit, struck up a conversation with me. I told him that we had been buying our trees from Benny for some time. Benny, it turned out, was one of his best customers as he bought the rejected trees from the lot. These trees were so imperfect that they could not be displayed and were left in a pile in the back lot. Just for old time's sake, I bought one for just a small amount of money.

I would not tell John; we were overcharged for these rejects. However, in thinking about it, I was glad we bought these imperfect trees. With my sister and I working together, we added tinsel, lights, ornaments, and a slightly bent plastic angel on top. Each year, we were able to make these rejects into perfect creations to celebrate our Christmas.

Well, there was one exception, the tree with the bent trunk and the bare middle.

Christmas Story contest entry

Recognized

Author Notes
Using fiction because some of the story I had to expand and my memory sometimes skips details but the trees we bought and decorated each one was real and how we tied down our trees. John's aversion paying for trees was also real. I remember I once asked Benny how fresh were his trees. He told me that they were cut down in July and floated in the river. I believed him.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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