Column: The Tree Farm
January 6, 2021
I recently read that Republic Services was offering free Christmas Tree recycling in Three Forks. Within seconds of viewing this, I was flooded with a memory that has disappeared for well over a decade.
Truth be told I probably have a lot of memories of my younger years that are better left sealed away deep in some compartment of my hippocampus, but this was one that really made me laugh obnoxiously and it was too fun not to share.
During this time of my life, I was working at the daily newspaper in my hometown and I had just been moved from the dreaded 1:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. shift to a normal 8 to 5 position which allows someone to have much more of a life. I generally behaved during the week, but Friday night was another story and allowed me a chance to hang out with my friends and have a little fun.
On one Friday in early January, we had planned on an evening out on the town, but a horrible storm came and a group of us just decided to head up to a friend’s house after dinner at a brewery and we would just stay there rather than deal with roads.
I’m not really sure how the conversation started but someone had to of mentioned that there was free tree recycling at the local college and within seconds we had an idea that would become the stuff of legend.
We ended up making a detour on the way to the house at the college and the plan had us all giggling like a bunch of middle school kids before they pull the fire alarm. Absent from our group of friends was one person who had instead decided to hang out with his girlfriend and not partake in our juvenile, I mean adult shenanigans. Once we arrived at the college, we decided to load the back of two pickups with trees. We weren’t exactly dumpster diving because the bin was filled to the brim and there were hundreds laying on the ground, but this was still a bit naughty.
I kept looking for campus security or the police department to show up, but they never did. With the storm, there were probably a lot more important things to do.
Once we were full, we decided to travel to the friend’s house who was out on a date and give him a little surprise, or what we would later call his own Christmas Tree farm. We spent about an hour placing around 50 trees in his yard and the storm allowed us to be able to stand them up.
I was laughing the entire time and was also ready for the police to show up. I’m not sure what type of trouble you can get into for stealing trees lying next to a recycling bin and then posing them in a front yard but I’m sure it might be a little ugly.
On one occasion I saw a light come on at a house across the street and I thought this would be our undoing. I looked in the general direction of the light and what I witnessed is probably why I forgot this story. Standing in the window was a middle-aged man and he was stark naked --- not even as much as socks on. We locked eyes and at that moment I knew he was not going to call the cops because he would have to explain why he was looking out his window naked as a jaybird.
When our friend finally came home his reaction was well worth and we laughed for hours. It felt kind of good to make our own little National Forest in the middle of a residential area.
All the trees were returned and stacked nicely where we found them. If you are a kid reading this, please don’t do this!