As Grandpa’s pick-up truck drove into the Gallatin National Forest, Lydia continued to remind him of Grandma’s instructions. Grandma expected them to return home with the most perfect Douglas fir tree for Christmas.
Seven-year old Lydia was excited to make her first trip into the forest to pick out a Christmas tree. Both she and Grandpa were dressed warmly in layers of outer clothing, snow boots, and stocking hats. The early December day was going to be snowy and cold.
Lydia’s family always used an artificial Christmas tree, which was better described by Grandma as a “fake” tree. Her eyes were filled with so much excitement, and her smile reminded Grandpa of the blessing of spending time with his beloved granddaughter.
With the tree permit in hand, Grandpa knew just the right place to find a tree in a dense grove of smaller to medium-sized trees. Grandma had sent along a delicious lunch of sandwiches and hot chocolate.
Upon finding their destination, Grandpa parked the truck along the road. The two of them would have to hike into the forest for about a mile or two.
Eventually their search found the special grove of trees. Lydia’s expression was priceless as she witnessed her first look at “real” Christmas trees.
Grandpa gave Lydia her final instructions. She needed to pick out a seven-footer, according to Grandma’s expectations. After about 20 minutes, she found just the right tree. Grandpa checked the measurements of the tree, and he was sure it would fit in the living room back home.
Crawling under the Douglas fir with his tree saw, Grandpa began to carefully cut the tree away from the frozen ground. He made certain to leave a short stump of less than six inches, just as the Forest Service expected him to do.
With Lydia’s help, they tied up the tree on a small sled that they’d brought. Now they could easily transport the tree back to the waiting pick-up truck.
Sitting in the warm cab of the truck, Lydia and Grandpa enjoyed some tasty sandwiches with hot chocolate. Their laughter and conversation kept them warm as well.
Soon it was time to drive back home with their treasured tree for Christmas. Lydia took a nap along the way, but she woke-up when Grandpa pulled the pick-up into the driveway.
Grandma stepped outside to see how the two tree hunters had made out. She called to Lydia, “How did you do?”
Beaming with her warmest smile ever, Lydia ran and hugged her, “We found the most perfect tree. Anything for Grandma!”