Contributed by Marilyn Bennett
I read with interest a story in the Anchorage Daily News on December 4th. The story was about an Alaskan family that goes to New York City every year to sell Christmas trees.
This Nikiski couple work as commercial fishermen in the summer and then travel down to New York City in November and come back to Alaska in January. They have been doing this for years and at first drove the ALCAN Highway, but now prefer to go by plane. It was inspiring to read about the entrepreneurial spirit that is so much a part of the hardy people of Alaska.
However, the story got me to thinking on a different track. I remember as a child that my uncle would go out in the woods in northern Minnesota and cut down a tree to send to his dirt-poor relatives in North Dakota. As you know, there are no trees in most of North Dakota. My uncle would take the tree down to the train station and the engineers on the train would deliver the tree for free, because it was for Christmas. The sharing of the tree represented to me the true spirit of Christmas.
In those days, just having a tree was very special. We would string popcorn and cranberries to wrap around the tree and make fun decorations to add to the few store-bought bulbs. The lights in those days burnt out on a regular basis, but the frustration of finding the bad bulb was rewarded by how beautiful the lighted tree looked. Some businesses starting putting up fancy fake trees at that time and they were a wonder to behold, but only the rich could afford one of those fancy fake trees in their homes.
How times change. Now New Yorkers pay $140.00 to $300.00 for a real tree, while poor people pull out their old fake tree from its box. Or they can buy a nice fake tree at one of the neighborhood thrift stores for very little.
Odd how things change.
This switch from the poor having real trees and rich having fake trees to the opposite today is not a good or bad thing.
But it is an interesting thing.
Have a merry Christmas, and don’t forget to trim the tree.