Pine garland hugged the ceiling. Christmas ornaments of every description hung from it glittering in the light.
The yard showed up on satellite images. Rows of cars driving down our street kept the neighbors awake.
“You know Fannie, we have more inflatable decorations than outlets to plug them into,” said Richard feeling handicapped.
“Well, Richard, we can always plan on updating the electrical panel and add more outlets,” I said.
“You know that’s not a bad idea. Then I wouldn’t have to choose between the polar bears with the Christmas tree and the snow globe with the carrousel. Maybe George has room for one more in his yard. I’d hate to see it go to waste.”
Christmas morning arrived. Santa left a large box next to the tree with Richard’s name on it.
Richard rounded the corner into the living room. He stopped in his tracks.
“Fannie, where did that come from?” he asked pointing at the present.
“Richard, Santa must have delivered last night,” I said.
“I was in here until 2 a.m., how did Santa sneak that by me?”
“It’s the magic of Christmas, Richard, just go with it.”
He tore into the wrapping with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old. As the red foil wrapping fell to the floor, a box appeared displaying the image of a shop vac.
Ripping open the box, he ran his hands over the vacuum and sighed.
“Thank you, I can’t wait to try it out,” he said.
Because of the peanut incident, we spent the next day putting away the Christmas decorations.
The tree, now bare of ornaments, looked naked in the living room.
“Richard, I have a tag the Boy Scouts left for us, they will collect the tree on New Year’s Day. All we have to do is leave it out on the curb,” I said. “I just have to find the tag.”
Richard mumbled some sort of acknowledgment as I left the room.
While I was looking for the tag, Richard entered the garage, and found his trusty electric chain saw. The Husqvarna would be overkill.
Back in the living room, he plugged the extension cord into the wall and with a twinkle in his eye, the chain saw roared to life.
I found the much sought after tag when I heard the chain saw’s melodic buzz through the wall. Running to the living room, I stopped in shock. There before me, Richard wielded the chain saw. Branches fell leaving needles splayed over the floor.
A naked trunk, reminiscent of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, stood surrounded by pine baughs, the smell fresh cut wood filled the living room.
Richard plugged in his shop vac, selected the appropriate attachment and put it to the test.
Within a few moments all evidence of the massacre disappeared.
Richard turned around and spotted me in the entry way.
“Fannie, I love my new shop vac, it works great. I think I’ll clear a spot for it in the garage,” he said, hosting the trunk over his shoulder and hauling the shop vac behind him down the hall.
“Do you want the tree tag?” I asked him as he passed.
“Naw,” he said over his shoulder. “What’s the point? I’ll just use this for kindling,” he said indicating the trunk. ” Can you grab the chain saw? I don’t want to make two trips.”
I could hear him humming, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, as he walked down the hall the shop vac’s wheels keeping time as it rolled across the wood floor.