It was before Christmas of 1997. We had only been wed a few weeks. Our first tradition post honeymoon: the selection of the Christmas tree.
Do you remember a home improvement store chain called Hechinger’s? Well, that’s where we got the tree that year. Somewhere in Fairfax County, VA. I don’t remember why, but we had to stop at my best man’s house to pick up some boxes or drop them off or something. But we did. And he was kind enough to invite us to dinner – out for pizza – despite us having a tree on top of my beloved’s station wagon.
We took him up on his invitation and he and his wife helped us get the tree into their townhouse and upright in water. Yes, a real, honest-to-God evergreen tree that had once been alive.
So, we got the tree secured in the living room and loaded into his minivan with him and his three kids. I seem to remember they lived in Burke, VA. This is important to know.
After about 15 minutes, “So, um, Doug… where are we going?”
“Gepetto’s. They’re awesome.”
“Where is Gepetto’s?”
“Just over in Bethesda.” (that’s in Maryland!)
It should be noted that, without traffic, we’re looking at 35 minutes from door to door…
The pizza was nothing my bride and I had again – I remember not hating it. And, truth be told, our minds were on the tree and the fact that our freight service elevator was turned off at 8:45pm. And we we not on the ground floor.
Got done eating and back to Doug’s home around 8:20 and loaded up the tree, thanked him and left his place around 8:30. We made it, sadly, back around 8:50 to the apartment building we called home. The elevator power had been shut off for the night, according to the doorman, at 8:45, precisely.
How to get the tree up to our apartment? Thankfully, we lived on the 2nd floor. And…. had a balcony. And rope!!!!
Yes! The handicap spot was open below our balcony, so we borrowed it for about 10 minutes. Long enough to toss the end of the rope not tethered to the tree (after untying from the roof rack) to my beloved who was squarely on our balcony. Switching spaces, I hoisted the tree up over the balcony railing and into our apartment. First Christmas memory was achieved. In style.
Got a significant Christmas memory of your own? Share it here! I’d love to hear it.