We got back to the barn and dragged the tree in out of the cold wind. We were blowing on our fingers trying to get some feeling back into them, but we all wanted to see the tree put on a base, so we stood around watching. Grandda put away the crosscut saw by hanging it on the wall of the barn with his other tools.
He then dragged the tree over and put the end up one of the sawhorses and said, "Come over here, Zeb, and hold this tree end while I nail some crosspieces onto the bottom of it."
First, though, he took a smaller saw and evened up the end of the tree so it would stand straight. He did what looked like a strange thing then, by taking a small piece out of the center of one of the crosspieces so the other would fit into it. Ah! I realized that it would make the crosspiece even and flat. Then he nailed the crosspiece in several places to the bottom of the tree, and all working together, we set it up and stood back looking at it. We all felt so very proud of our work! Rosie actually beamed!
Grandda tipped it up again and we proceeded to the back porch and carried it inside to the living room.
Ma was in Grandma's bedroom and came out when she heard all the noise.
"Oh, my goodness! I wondered where you all had gotten to! A real live Christmas tree in the house! Where did you get it? How? Did you drive into town to get it?"
"No, Ma!" shouted Rosie. "I helped Grandda saw it down!"
I could see the doubt in Ma's eyes when she said, "Really? You helped cut it down? How?"
"With a crosscut saw! Grandda and I, we stood on both sides of the tree and pulled the saw back and forth. You should have seen us!" Rosie was laughing like I hadn't seen her in a long time. "Now we are going to decorate it, if we can find some decorations."
"We don't have to find any decorations! We can make our own," said Ma. "We used to make our own when your Da and I were first married."
"You and Da!!!" I couldn't believe my ears.
"Yes, that was before... Well, never mind, we can do it now, children, we still have the rest of the day. We can pop some corn and string it; we can make colored construction paper loops and make a chain of it. Rosie, you can make a silver aluminum foil star for the top. How about it, children? But first, dinner is ready to eat."
We were excited. This was going to be a great Christmas this year, even without the presents.
Grandda went in to check on Grandma. It seems Ma had just given her some lunch. She didn't eat much anymore, but Ma tried, just the same. Grandda came out saying she was asleep.
After Grace, we ate our dinner excitedly, almost rushing through it. We were in a hurry to decorate the tree. What an adventure we were having!
(To be continued)