Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christmas Tree Story

Old NFO has a Christmas Tree post which sparked a sixty+ year old memory of how my parents found some lifelong friends in a small town where we had just moved.

My dad was managing an ice house in Rollinsville, CO. That was in the days before home refrigerators were common. The Estes Ice Company had a dam on Coal Creek and a large four story warehouse. Blocks of ice would be cut out of the frozen reservoir, stored in the warehouse, and shipped by rail to Denver where ice was delivered to homes and businesses.

My Dad and I climbed a steep hill looking for the right Christmas tree. He cut one down and ‘we’ dragged it down to the road. He left it there and we went back to the house for the truck. When we came back the tree was gone!

The next night my parents went into town to the Stage Stop. There, nicely decorated, was ‘our’ tree.

Seems Mike and Vera Neal were driving down the road, saw the tree, picked it up and delivered it to the Stage Stop. From that awkward start, the Neals became lifelong friends and godparents to my sister who came along a few years later.

Mike and Vera were childless pensioners who had spent most of their lives in Central City when it was still a rip roaring mining town. Both had previous marriages. They were lifelong staunch Republicans and had a framed picture of President Eisenhawer with signature prominently displayed in their living room.

Both were walking history books about Gilpin County and were fine raconteurs. They had a house off the upper Moon Gulch road that was a challenge to reach in the winter. We had many a Sunday dinner there.

Old NFO has a picture of an aluminum Christmas tree. I heartily approve. Growing up in rural areas with little or no fire protection we lived with a constant awareness of fire danger. I have an early childhood memory from Rollinsville of watching a family in their night clothes standing in snow and watching everything they owned going up in flames.

Raising my own family, we always had an artificial tree for just that reason.


LL said...

Thank you for the story and insight.

Well Seasoned Fool said...


Coffeypot said...

This is not my favorite time of year. I would do wthout a tree, but Judy loves Christmas. So what she wants is my command. But we alternate between live and artificial... depending on her mood. Enjoyed the story, though. Merry Christmas, in case I miss it this weekend.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

If not for my kids, just another day.

commoncents said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Old NFO said...

Thanks, and yes, fire always was, and still is a BIG danger. 10 years of VFD, and I don't think there was a single year we didn't roll on at least 4-5 house fires due to christmas trees/lights... sigh

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Christmas lights, candles, and chimney fires.

Anonymous said...

The story goes that Dad was talking at the bar at the Stage Stop and mentioned that "someone had stolen his damn tree". Mike Neal piped up and said "I stole your damn tree". The rest is a wonderful and loving history.


Old NFO said...

Gah, don't remind me about the damn chimney fires... LOT of people in Florida burn pine... sigh

Well Seasoned Fool said...

As usual your memory is better.

My parent were diligent about adding chimney cleaner to the fire from time to time. Doubt it worked as well as mechanically cleaning but we never had a chimney fire.