This weekend, it’s typically our tradition to put up our Christmas decorations. So, in honor of that, I thought I’d repost this story of “our first Christmas tree.”
This story took place the first Christmas my husband and I were married (2009). We received a number of gift cards to Target as wedding presents earlier that summer which we hadn’t used yet, so we decided to redeem them as well as hit a local furniture store on “Black Friday” in order to capitalize on some of the sales. So, we set out that morning on a very long bus ride from downtown Baltimore where we lived out to the county where the nearest Target was located, with a nice furniture store nearby. We decided to go to the furniture store first so we wouldn’t have to carry any shopping bags with us while looking at furniture. Unfortunately, the bus driver didn’t have the audio stop announcements turned on, so we had to rely on him to let us know when we got to our stop. After a while, we began to worry we had gone too far, so my husband asked the driver where we were. Of course, the driver had forgotten and passed up our stop by about a dozen stops. But, this driver feeling so guilty that he’d passed up our stop, turned his bus around, deviated from the route, and took us back as close as he could get us to at least the street we needed. Kind of sounds like we hi-jacked the MTA doesn’t it? WE then walked several blocks through this subdivision to the intersecting street where the furniture store was located and finally started shopping. WE managed to find some great items there, arrange for their deliveries, and left there ready to set out for phase two of our shopping extravaganza. We knew that the Target was relatively close to the furniture store, so we decided to just walk as the bus to there was a bit out of the way. WE got better directions from the clerk who had helped us with our purchases. She assured us that the Target was only about ten minutes—just down the road through two stop lights in another shopping plaza. So, we set off walking. We learned a valuable lesson that day—when people who usually drive say something only takes about ten minutes to walk to, you’d better triple it. And, as a side note, getting lost together and going for long walks whether you mean to or not is great marriage therapy. A half hour later we finally made it to Target.
We decided to use our Target gift cards to buy our Christmas tree that year. After finding the perfect tree, we went to pay for it. You can imagine how the next few minutes played out:
Us: “Hi, we want to pay for our tree
Cashier: Great. That will be $XXX.
Us: Okay. (Transaction takes place.)
Cashier: Can I get someone to help you get this out to your car?
Us: (momentary pause)” um, well, actually, we can’t drive, so we are going to take the bus home. Do you think you can hold this somewhere for us while we go locate the bus stop?
Cashier: (Seeming a little stunned) “Sure. I can do that.”
I should probably point out a few things to you at this point. #1: My husband is the biggest cheap skate ever and refused to take a cab home as it would have cost about $40 to get from the Target to our apartment at the time. #2, the Target was located in this huge shopping center with mile-long parking lots. WE had never been there before so we didn’t know where the bus stop was, and neither did the cashier, so we wanted to find it before hauling the tree outside with us.
About twenty minutes later, we were returning to the store when we ran into two employees carrying our tree on a flatbed cart. They said they had heard what we were doing and wanted to help us get our tree to the bus stop. The stop wasn’t far, actually pretty much straight across from the main entrance of the store, but there wasn’t really a direct path to get through the parking lot because of various obstructions, and there were four lanes of traffic to cross over as well unless you walked about a block up the parking lot to the driveway where the intersection with the crosswalk was located. So, we welcomed the use of the cart and the extra hands. After helping us carry our tree to the bus stop, we thanked the two guys and told them we could manage from there.
When the bus arrived, the bus driver laughed out loud and told us we’d really taken the shopping day seriously. The hour bus ride home was a bit amusing and I know we made quite the scene on the bus–confirmed by all the comments and smiles from other passengers–but everyone seemed to be good natured about it and didn’t seem to mind how much space we were taking up at the front of the bus. The driver even seemed tickled to think that she played a role in helping to “make our Christmas.” Thankfully, we only had to carry the tree about a block from the bus stop to our apartment. IN any
Case, it makes for a fun story and we look forward to telling our children about how we drug the Christmas tree home on the bus one year.
Update: Sadly, this tree burned out about two years ago, but it served us well for about six Christmases. We ended up purchasing another pre-lit tree in its place one weekend when my mother-in-law was here with her SUV, so not as interesting of a story. The new tree does however have blue-tooth capability which my husband loves because he can control the lights and music from his phone using voice over which otherwise would be inaccessible to both of us. Go technology!