First Published December 2010

Oh Mr. Tree, Oh Mr. Tree

How lovely are your branches.

"Really, Chronicler? You’re really going to write that?"

PM is standing over my shoulder as I type this. She’s has been criticizing my endeavors ever since she got here, with the most strident being that it’s almost Christmas Eve and I’ve just begun the first draft.

Purple Monster has not lost one iota of her control freakiness since last you saw her.

"Last you saw her? Chronicler, that was five years ago! Our Dear Readers have not heard one tiny little peep about my activities since then. … What are you doing? No, no, no, that’s why I’m here. You are NOT playing another game of Plants vs. Zombies. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, when was I replaced by zombies and killer plants?"

I am digressing again. I always seem to be digressing. Yes, yes, yes, I should have written another Christmas Saga this year. After all, PM is still as magnificent a Christmas Critter as ever, and the North Pole still is working round the clock to get ready for Christmas. But I admit that PM's Chronicler has been so involved in making movies this past year that she's been a bit remiss in keeping up with the comings and goings, doings and don'tings of her friends up north. And besides, any writing I've been doing (yes, yes, I AM a writer, it's what I do, who I am) has been dedicated to chronicling revenge on a dastardly SEGWACian whose self-aggrandizement and evil martinet inner core caused irreparable damage to Chronicler's reputation and psyche almost two years ago. Until such literary fulfillment can be achieved, I fear PM's Saga will be postponed. Perhaps 2011 will be the year ...


"Yes, PM?"

"Are you really going to spew such un-Christmas fumes at this time of year? After all, this is the Day Before the Night Before Christmas, and I'm in town for such a short time, and our Night Before the Night Before Christmas Concert is to begin in just a few hours, so would you please, please, please get on with the Ode to Mr. Tree? Which, by the way, is a truly remarkable specimen of Christmas Tree grandeur."

"Okey dokey."

So without further ado, here we go.

Mr. Tree enters the Hovel.

Mr. Tree enters the Hovel.

Mr. Tree grew up in North Carolina, and was purchased shortly after Thanksgiving at the tree stand at 79th and Broadway. I had vowed to get a tree that would not eat the hovel (that means a tree around 6 feet tall). But I fell in love with Mr. Tree, and he just had to come home with me. How to get him home? I had brought $100 with me. The tree cost $100. I had no money to pay for delivery. So I started dragging Mr. Tree down Broadway (just three blocks, after all!). Well, Chronicler is now older than I used to be (yes, I am), and it was slow going, until a young handsome stranger offered to help me carry it a block and a half. That was so wonderful. And then, a generous, kind-hearted couple helped me carry it to my door! Isn't the Christmas Spirit a joy to behold?
My doorman helped me get Mr. Tree into the apartment and put him into the tree stand. It became very, very apparent that Mr. Tree would indeed eat the hovel, but that he would be gorgeous.

Down from the tippy top of the closet came the three bins of ornaments and lights.

Mr. Tree gets his lights on.

Mr. Tree gets his lights on.

And for the next several days, Mr. Tree was bedecked and bejeweled. Three strands of colored lights went on, and then two strands of little white lights. Ornaments from way, way back when went on him. And an especially important ornament went up, a jeweled church I had bought long, long ago. This delicate ornament reminded me of the film I did just this past fall up in Canajoharie, New York. I played a church organist whose pedal broke, resulting in a major meltdown. I put that ornament so that I could see it right when I walked in the door.

A new Christmas star.

A new Christmas star.

I live in New York, and thus was privileged to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the Bryant Park Christmas Trees. Both are wonderful trees.

But Mr. Tree is the best, because he's up close and personal. He might take over the hovel, but he's definitely worth it.

For years I had an artificial tree in the hovel, and would buy a real tree when I went home to visit the family in St. Louis. That was always a special tree, with special ornaments. But those days are gone. I carry on the real tree tradition, though, and the special ornaments. This year, at the Macy's one-day ornament sale, I bought a cardinal ornament, which now is on Mr. Tree. It reminds me of my Mom, who so loved the birds, and especially the cardinal. This ornament's for you, Mom. And I really do miss you!

The church ornament .

The church ornament.

Mr. and Mrs. Snowpeople.

Mr. and Mrs. Snowpeople.

Never has tinsel looked so sparkly! Never have lights showed themselves off to such advantage! Photos do not do Mr. Tree justice! That's why your Chronicler made a video! Scroll down a bit and you'll find it.


It is now early in 2011, and Mr. Tree has left the hovel. He gave it his all, but the needle shedding became too much to take, and with a great deal of trauma, he has left the hovel. We hope that he has gone on to a better existence as mulch. One might call that an ignominious end for a magnificent tree. But Mr. Tree will live in memory and on this Web site!

Here is the video I created of Mr. Tree. It is my first YouTube video, and reflects the total lack of basic film-making skills of your Chronicler. However, it was made with love, which generally gets your Chronicler points in Christmas Monsterland!