Out On A Limb

In the 14 years that I’ve written this column, I’ve always had a story at Christmastime about my wife and our Christmas tree-buying experience. I never thought I would see the day, but this year my wife and our 14-year-old daughter went out without me and actually purchased a tree they deemed to be perfect without the annual drama. My kid brother and I picked up the tree and it went like clockwork.

It was a Christmas miracle of sorts, at least for me. In fact, when I set up the tree, it was nearly perfect. Balanced and symmetrical, I didn’t need to take my branch shears to trim it. The tree was ready for lights and ornaments. It was then that my wife and daughter decided to run out and get some Christmas shopping in. I was to put the lights on the tree and nothing more, as they would decorate it to their very high standards.

As I set up a stepladder, I stood back and looked at the tree. I noticed that a small branch on the left side was barely sticking out. I took the shears and clipped it off. I took a little bit too much off, so then the right side looked too long. I clipped that branch as well. It kind of became like me shaving my sideburns. I would shave one side and it would be shorter than the other. So then I would even up the other side but end up going shorter. The end game would be that I have no sideburns left. That’s how it was for the tree. I took a perfectly shaped tree and trimmed it like topiary.

I ended up with a Christmas tree shaped like a dolphin jumping out of the water. I was panicked as my wife and daughter would soon be home. I went to my garage for some fishing line and started tying some of the branches I cut off back onto the tree. I meticulously patched up the tree and did a pretty good job restoring its original shape. When my girls came home, they anxiously started to decorate the tree.

My wife was the first to notice. “Oh my God! This tree is held together by fishing line!” she exclaimed. I excused myself from the room saying I had to go alphabetize my tax receipts. The last thing I remember was my name being yelled so loud that everyone named Ron from Hanalei to Hanapepe looked up.