Adventures in Christmas tree shopping

From our December 2020 issue

By Ione Skafte – Lethbridge, Alta.

We took possession of our own home in February. How excited we were! I spent the first month going back and forth from our last rented home with a three-year-old under one arm and paint and accessories under the other. Our new home was only two blocks from our old home, so it was no problem.

I painted, cleaned, and moved small stuff. I didn’t do too much heavy lifting, as I was three months pregnant, but did manage to get all the kitchen stuff over and lots of the basics we needed.

In March, we moved all the furniture over, and we were set to start our new life in our own home. There were lots of adjustments as we both worked, but we loved it and had great plans for how to renovate it and make it our own.

Carl and I came from very different families and had been used to very different traditions. My family spent every holiday together eating and celebrating. This was new to him, and he tried to adjust, but it was never more apparent than when Christmas came.

Souped up Chev

I wanted a big tree for our new home and lots of decorations. Carl hated all of this. One afternoon, I announced I was taking his truck and getting a tree, as he was having no part of it.

Our first truck was a 1957 Chev that had been souped up by a young Wrentham lad. His dad sold us the truck. I had ridden in it a couple of times, but mostly stuck to the car. I had driven a standard before and knew I could do it, so I took the keys and headed off to the tree lot which was just a few blocks from our house.

It had started to snow heavily, and the roads were quite slick, but I was up to the task. I got in the truck, slowly backed it down the driveway, and got it headed in the right direction. All was well. I got to the lot, picked out a tree, and the lot manager loaded it into the truck. Then the adventure started…

I couldn’t close the driver’s door. No matter how I slammed it, it would not stay shut. During this, a couple of police officers had come to the lot for some business and saw my distress. They came over to see if they could assist. Nope, they could not close it either.

Being gentlemen, they offered to help. The one officer stood on the running boards holding the door closed, while I carefully and slowly drove the couple of blocks home. (Can you imagine this happening today?)

My startled face

When I got to our avenue, scattered all over our driveway and sidewalk were Christmas carollers. The policeman saw my consternation and told me just to toot the horn so they’d clear a path for me to pull onto the driveway.

Ever so gently, I touched the horn. In a sound so loud I thought it would break everyone’s eardrums, a long – very very long – wolf whistle blasted! This must be every young man’s dream: a wolf whistle sound car horn.

The policeman looked at my startled face and started to laugh. “Did you know that was going to happen?”

I shook my stunned head. He was howling by this time. Imagine my neighbours out on their sidewalks and the startled carollers scattering before this onslaught.

And that’s how I was introduced to our church carollers and many of our neighbours! I made a lasting impression: a wolf whistle-driving-crazy-lady with a policeman on her running boards.

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