The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Absolutely, Positively, Worst Christmas Tree

By Bob Heafner © 1995

Issue: Winter, 1995

Everyone reads stories about the best or the most perfect Christmas tree they can remember, but this story is about (undoubtedly) the worst tree that ever was.

No, it was not a "Charlie Brown" tree. It was tall, and shaped perfectly. It looked like everything you ever wanted in a tree.

The story took place many years ago, when we were still at Meadows of Dan, Virginia, before we began The Mountain Laurel. Relatives from Greensboro, North Carolina, knowing we had access to wide open spaces, asked if we would bring them a tree.

We went to a parcel of land that we had free access to and began the hunt. It didn't take long to spot a magnificent tree and it was cut and thrown in the trunk of the car. When we got back to the house, we left it outside on the porch so it would be cooler and stay fresher. We all congratulated ourselves on finding such a perfectly shaped tree in so little time.

The next day we took off for Greensboro to deliver the tree sticking out of the trunk of the car. The relatives looked it over and thanked us profusely for the perfect tree. They left it outside until they could get out their lights and ornaments to decorate it.

A few days later, we heard from the relatives with an unusual tale to tell. It seems the tree had a strong offensive odor that hadn't been detected while it was still in the great outdoors, but which really became apparent when shut up in a well heated home. As near as anyone could figure, it must have been sprayed by a bobcat as he marked his territory.

They couldn't live with the odor so they took the ornaments, lights and other decorations off of the tree and sat it out on their porch, waiting for the next garbage pickup day.

The story doesn't end here. The next morning, they discovered that during the night, the tree had vanished. Just disappeared! Educated guesses figured the tree had been stolen. This produced a few chuckles about what the thief would get for his efforts.

The story didn't end there either - The following day, they looked out on their porch and there sat the tree again. The thief had brought it back!

I suppose someone learned a valuable lesson on honesty that Christmas.