The tree is for my Catholic mother. Let's face it. She's had to deal with a mouthy daughter who dropped out of high school, bleached her hair and eventually converted to Judaism. Granted I had the good sense to return to my natural hair color and eventually earned a diploma and a degree. But the Jewish thing stuck, and this woman has been through enough.
The least I can do is buy her a tree every year.
Husband and I didn't have to go too far. Right around the corner from my house is a nice abandoned gas station, and the gentlemen there who are hawking dying trees have all their own teeth. We stopped in to snoop.
Right away, we knew we were in over our heads. Perhaps there is someone out there who can tell the difference between a fir, pine and spruce but I'm too busy mixing a mojito. Husband's got a football to toss, so we were screwed. But the guy seemed nice and eventually we picked a tree where the nine-pound ornaments I made back in 1971, with lead, I'm sure, that my mother insists on keeping, won't fall off.
A tall and rugged type collected our money and tied the poor plant to the top of the Jeep.
Did I mention our synagogue is just a few doors down? The rabbi spotted us driving 3 mph, even though we ducked, and just shook his head. I swear he mumbled, "This explains a lot."
Husband rolled down the window and smiled.
"That's absolutely the last time we water our air freshener."