Funny, no matter how many times you experience the Christmas/New Years season, you always forget what a relief it is to have the whole thing over. Let's face it. It lasts too damn long.
It was especially long this year, and having the zombie Christmas tree next door didn't help it go any faster.
Back in 1980, when Jan and I had purchased our first residence, a town house, we celebrated the first Christmas season there by just saying no to dead, needle dropping, sap dripping, insect hiding "live" pine trees. We went to the long ago defunct Franks Nursery & Garden Center and bought an artificial tree. It served us well, through our 7 years in the town house, and the move to our new home. My son was born, grew up and moved away knowing nothing but "Art", our artificial pine.
Two years ago, we decided that "Art" needed to be put out to pasture, and we went to the local big box home improvement center and purchased a new artificial tree. Nestled in his well worn cardboard box, I carried "Art" to the curbside, in hope that someone would pick him up, take him home, and enjoy many future Christmases to come before the trash guy showed up on Monday morning and unceremoniously dumped him into the collection bin of his truck.
But it wasn't to be ... because in less than an hour, "Art" was scooped up by that mindless hoarder, that "I never saw a piece of junk I didn't like", that king of trash ... Hillbilly Ron.
And "Art" was deposited at the side of his garage, where I could continue to view him. And I did. Through the winter snow, the spring rains, the baking rays of summer and the blustery days of fall ... times two. "Art" sat there in his box.
And then, late this fall, Hillbilly Ron went on a cleaning spree. "Art" disappeared. I was glad he was gone. I'd always felt a twinge of guilt looking at him. He spoke to me sometimes. "Rob, why didst thou abandon me", he called out. He talked like that at first. And then he stopped with the "thees" and "thous" and got a little more real. "Hey you prick! I'm freezing my ass off out here!" "Do you know how hot it is out here you son-of-a-bitch?" "Great, now I'm all wet you asshole!"
But, in late November of 2011, that was all over. "Art" was gone.
Or so I thought. Early in December, there came a blow, as they say in New England. A mighty blow with winds topping 60 miles an hour. I happened to look at a window into Hillbilly Ron's side yard and saw ...
"Art"... Stand included
"WTF!!" How the hell had this happened? Did Hillbilly Ron have him stashed away in the garage and attempted to assemble him for some type of redneck lawn display?
Or ... had "Art" wherever he had went, left his box, put on his feet and walked back to let me know he was still around? Still pissed at me? Wanting to extract revenge for junking him?
I didn't know, and I didn't care. "Art" had to be taken care of. Once and for all. But, he was in Hillbilly Ron's yard, and the code says "if you're in my yard, hands off".
So I waited for the wind to do it's job and for the westerlies to push "Art" into my territory, where he could be dealt with, once and for all. But the winds, like life, are fickle. And instead of blowing "Art" into my yard in one piece, he came at me, one horrifying part at a time. First it was the head ...
"Look What You've Done To Me, You Bastard"
And then other bits and pieces came into my jurisdiction. As soon as they arrived, I tossed them in my trash can. But no matter how many pieces came under my control, the terrifying torso of the tree, attached to the stand/feet never left the other yard.
But I had a good chunk of it. Surely, Hillbilly Ron would realize that "Art" was useless for any purpose and throw what remained of him to the curb.
And that's what I thought happened, because "Art" disappeared again.
The holidays came, and the holidays went. And all was well. "Art" faded from memory. On New Years Day, Jan and I took down his replacement and boxed it up in the basement, where it will remain for another year.
And then today, I decided that I ought to write a new post to start off 2012, so I came up to my den/office/whatever and gazed out the window towards Hillbilly Ron's house.
And saw something that froze my shit solid.
"I'm Still Heeeerrrrre ... You Bastard!"
"Where's My Head??"
It's going to be a long winter.