Yesterday I went up to Elysian Hills Tree Farm in Dummerston , Vermont to get the Christmas trees for the lobby and parlor. We always put the Christmas decorations up right after Thanksgiving weekend to start the season off right. There’s something so cozy about having the trees lit and the fire going when night falls at 4:00 in the afternoon in early December. We’ve been getting our trees from Bill and Mary Lou Schmidt for years, because I love going there, and because their trees are the best around. The tree farm is a 10 minute drive from the inn, on a dirt road that winds up through the woods until the view of their fields opens up at their driveway. The rows of trees in all different sizes make a mosaic of shades of green against the brown grasses.

I got there early because I knew that they’d be busy right after Thanksgiving. Sure enough, the driveway had several cars lined up ready for trees to be tied to the tops for the trip home. The Christmas music was wafting from the sun room where Mary Lou collects the money and their Bernese Mountain dog, Urs, was gallumping back and forth escorting people up the hill with their trees.

I got out of the car and walked down to the racks of trees, looking for a balsam since they seem to last the longest. The fragrance of the evergreens hung heavy in the crisp wintry air, and my footsteps crunched in the light dusting of snow that had fallen the night before. I looked for a tree that was the right height, since all of the trees had perfect round shapes. I chose two eight foot trees and dragged them over to Bill who was netting trees and helping people get them to their cars.

I went into the sun room where Mary Lou was sitting next to the wood stove with her money box and calculator. I only see her once a year when I get my trees but she always recognizes me and we chat for a few minutes about how the year has been. By the time I finished talking to Mary Lou , Bill had both trees tied to the top of my car. I gave Urs a pat and got into the car to head home.