Leave it to father to 'figger' things out

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Debbie Adams writes about a Christmas tree with a message for all

My father hummed a tune as he positioned the newly cut bough in a beef bucket full of crushed stone. Before he tied it to the wall, he called out to my mother. “Come in and see. How’s that old woman?”

Debbie Adams

By Debbie Adams

My father hummed a tune as he positioned the newly cut bough in a beef bucket full of crushed stone. Before he tied it to the wall, he called out to my mother. “Come in and see. How’s that old woman?”

My mother rushed into the room with a potato and a knife in her hand, her old apron twisted to one side. The five of us adult children stood back and waited for her to speak because we knew that we were about to have some fun. There is no other way to say it. The tree was ugly. It wasn’t the ugly tree that made us laugh. Our father had a way of getting out of things and he always found favour with our mother.

Mother stood back with her arms folded across her chest, a bit of a smile on her face and suddenly she said, “That tree got two tops!”

Quick as a wink, he gives the tree a bit of a twist to the right and replies, “Nooooooooo, there’s only one top on that tree.” One top is now behind the other and from that angle it looks like there is only one top.

Sizing it up again, she responds, “Ya, I suppose. I thought I seen two tops.” After all, in her eyes, he could do no wrong. If he said there was one top, she believed him. It’s just the way it was.

A holiday hashtag

Then I heard a beep. I whipped out my iPhone and read “#holidayfun." All of us sat there with our iPhones ready and thumbs poised. We knew what was coming but we had to be careful. We didn’t want to hurt his feelings by letting him know we were laughing at him. He could be sensitive that way. With the hashtag someone had posted, “Anyone want popcorn?” The show was about to begin.

The day seemed to be saved until mother pipes up again, “Where is that limb gone?”

“What’s all that beeping?” my father asks. By this time, we’re pounding on the iPhones. You see my father doesn’t need to try to be humorous, not only is he a natural engineer, he is also a distant cousin to Archie Bunker. We love the iPhones because we can have a conversation within a conversation.

What the engineer and fixer of things had failed to notice was that when he rotated the tree to hide the twin tops, he exposed the gaping hole. You see, this tree was meant to be left in a crowd of trees where imperfections were less likely to draw attention. It was never intended to fly solo in a living room. But that never stopped my father. He loves “figgering stuff out."

Quick as a wink, relying on intuition that has served him well for more than 70 years, he has a solution. “What? That little hole? I won’t be long fixing that — just watch.” Motioning to my brother, he says, “Hold that tree up.”

Like a man on a mission, he heads to the shed. In the meantime, my sister in the corner is starting to snicker because I had just texted “it’s four-inch nail time,” in reference to a prior dilemma where a four-inch nail was used in place of a finishing nail.

In he comes, all abroad with a drill, a hammer, a ball of twine and… a tree limb. War amps couldn’t produce a limb as quick as my father did that day.

Laugh and enjoy

He had that limb grafted onto the tree quicker than an arborist and the bough was tied in place so she wouldn’t fall over. He stands with his arm around my mother, the pride showing on his face as he says, “You got a clever tree now missus.” She beams up at him hardly able to contain a chuckle as she says, “That limb looks shorter than the rest, is it? No I suppose not. That’s my eyes.”

“I daresay when you gets the lights and stuff on her, you won’t notice that. It’s a lovely tree.” He says.

In the background, the iPhones are smokin’ as we all get a text that says, “Call Better Homes and Gardens, Bob Vila did it again.” My father had crushed the tree problem and Christmas was saved.

I know you’re wondering, did that really happen? Is she telling the truth? Have a laugh and enjoy it and remember this. Families like that little tree, are imperfectly perfect. Christmas is a matter for the heart. Enjoy the holiday!!! #holidayfun

— Debbie Adams is originally from Upper Island Cove, and now resides in Nova Scotia. She is the owner of PeopleCan Training and Development, and the author of "Single Again, Now What ... A Practical Guide to Meaningful Connections." As an adult educator and coach, she enjoys helping people live more productive lives. She can be reached by email at the following: debbie.adams08@gmail.com. On the web: www.peoplecan.ca

Organizations: Better Homes and Gardens, Bob Vila

Geographic location: Upper Island Cove, Nova Scotia

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  • Brian Goff
    December 12, 2013 - 01:03

    A fine piece of work. Great story!