Entry Sixty-nine: Oh, Tanner Baum

[Yet another story in multiple installments. Today: 6 of 6]

After a few moments of respectful silence, daddy grabbed the saw and twine from the Man Scout and instructed the kids not to move. He started snipping and hacking, ridding each tree of their bad parts until the two orphans fit together like twins. Then he grabbed the twine and united the two at the top, middle and bottom, securing them so tight that no man would ever put them asunder. When daddy was through, the Man Scout offered to hold the tree (it was one now) and let the whole Baum crew inspect daddy’s work. “Spin!” we all shouted at once and repeated it until we had seen the tree from every angle. It was perfect, probably the best-looking Christmas tree we had ever found. Then I had an idea that, weirdly, seemed to strike all of us kids at once, because we all grabbed hands and let out the biggest silent scream we had ever mustered. Daddy laughed but the Man Scout lost his smile briefly. I believe he happened to be looking at Hootie and, if you’re not ready for it, his silent scream can concern you.

As we piled into the van, Oleta remembered Bart and wished out loud that he could have witnessed our Christmas miracle. Cecil said he believed the Man Scout would be telling that story for a lot of years to come so he was sure Bart would hear about it. Then everybody started talking at once and, for once, daddy didn’t try to shut us up. It was a very special night indeed.

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

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