Men measures their progression through time in many ways. As young boys, we cut our neighbors grass and as adolescents, we deliver their newspapers. As adults, we bring them their mail and sell them their cars and as old men we exaggerate how well we accomplished all of these tasks.
For me, the one sure measure of time and my own journey through it has been the Christmas tree—or more precisely, how I have gone about getting one each year.
I remember as a child, in Rochester, how my father and I would walk up the street to the City Service gas station where the man would have all his trees leaning on one side of the building. They would be stacked up in a giant heap making it impossible to compare them but nevertheless my father would hold up one after another, and ask my opinion.
“What do you think of this one?”
“How do you like this one?”
“How about this one?”
“Do you like this one?”
Until finally he found one that he liked.
“This one looks pretty good. I think we’ll get it.” My father would then pay the man what I suppose was a couple of bucks and then we would carry it back home. Not even the freezing cold could dampen my excitement.