December 11, 2009

The Christmas Tree

Yesterday we put up the Christmas tree. Before it arrived the conversation went something like this and underscores the finer points of female logic:

Me: I want to put up a Christmas tree this year.
Esperando: But we won’t be there for Christmas.
Me: I don’t care, we are there for two more weeks and I want to have the feeling of Christmas before we leave.
Esperando (knowing after so many years it is hopeless to argue): Ok, so I will send Javier over to help find a Torote. You can go with him to pick out a Torote (a wild shrub which is used for a Christmas tree in much of Baja that has a resinous pine scent).
Me: No, this year I want a U.S. style pine tree. Moreno’s Market will have them.
Esperando (wishing to economize): Well just get a little one.
Me (making a non-binding commitment--i.e. Charlie Brown I promise to hold the football): Yes, I will get a really small one. The smallest one they have.

Sr. Jueves came by to get me and off we went to Moreno’s. Sr. Jueves told me yesterday that Sr. Moreno would have small, medium and large trees. We have a rather cavernous room with high ceilings and I began to think a very small tree was not so great an idea, maybe medium size is better. This morning he told me the large trees and the small trees were about the same, except one costs less. When I got there, they were all the exact same size, about 6 feet, and although they had been offloaded from the truck only several hours previously, half of them had names on them already and had been sold. I am sure in a couple of more hours they would all be gone.

I had been concerned that the tree could be rather dried out, after all it was cut in the U.S., where I don’t know, and came down on a truck via Tijuana. It was so fresh with so much sap that Sr. Jueves could barely saw 2 inches off without the saw blade sticking constantly. The fragrance filled the room.

Last year we had a Torote. Not knowing much about them, it was way underwatered and died 2 weeks into being a Christmas tree. (Iwas told not to water it at all.) At the time I wanted to buy white lights for it but none were available. We bought two strands of colored lights, and when I asked for another colored strand that afternoon they had sold out. This year I tried to buy more colored lights but all they had were strands of white and strands of red. So I bought a strand of white to mix in with what I already had and they still barely covered the tree. I sent Sr. Jueves back to buy more strands of any color but they had sold out again. New Cook went rushing off to the second hand store her sister-in-law runs and came back with two more strands of colored lights. She saved the day.

Then having made a batch of Mexican wedding cookies twice (the first batch lacked flour and became on giant very flat cookie), New Cook joined in and started making a wreath from the leftover greens and glittered shells that I used last year. Then she went home and brought over her Christmas ornaments to add more to our tree. Although I tried to insist we could buy them from her, she wouldn’t hear of it, it was her donation she said. She has a very generous spirit. Everyone commented on how wonderful the fragrance was from the tree.

Sr. Jueves told me he now understood about the kind of base you need for a fresh tree, that when I was trying to describe it before it made no sense but now it did, it was sort of like becoming a convert to a new religion the way he waxed on with light shining in his eyes. The tree is beautiful. We all ate Mexican wedding cookies and were happy . This morning only six cookies were left and we are starting on a batch of biscochitos.

Decorated sailboats in the harbor at Santa Rosalia.

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