Sunday afternoon, Team Rogers made its annual Yuletide sortie to Home Depot for a Christmas tree. We went to the location on Garland Road, over the objections of my wife, who wanted to go to the location on Skillman because a co-worker of hers had told her the selection there was better. As I explained, though, we’d have to transport the tree farther, which would mean —
Never mind. Let’s not bog down in that whole debate. We went to the location on Garland.
So we are in the tree tent. Me personally, I’m feeling a bit claustrophobic, what with the mask and the close quarters and the other tree shoppers disregarding the one-way signage. The missus grabs an approximately 9-foot noble fir, stands it up, and asks for my opinion.
“Too tall,” I say. “We do this every year.”
I am 6 feet tall. We live in a midcentury modern with a sloping ceiling. At its lowest point, where we put the tree, I can reach up and nearly touch the ceiling. So every year I stand next to the first four or five trees she selects, and I raise my hand as high as it will go, and I say, “Too tall.”
This is what I’m doing Sunday — standing next to the tree with my hand raised like I’ve got a pressing question and am eager to be called upon — when the missus lets go of the tree. The tree falls into the aisle where a 4-year-old boy is innocently walking, unaware of the dangers that surround him. He’s probably thinking about Oreos. Bam. The noble fir scores a direct hit, takes him cleanly off his feet.
At which point I ask the missus, “What are you doing? You just knocked that kid over.”
“You did that,” she counters. “You were holding the tree.”
“No, I wasn’t,” I correctly point out. “I was standing next to the tree with my hand in the air to show you it’s too tall for our house. But apparently it’s just the right height to kill small children.”
The little boy’s father has him in his arms now. The kid isn’t crying, which is impressive. Tough kid. It was an ugly hit. If it had been a football game, my wife would have been disqualified for targeting, and the kid would have been put through concussion protocol.
My wife and I continue to argue for longer than is probably reasonable, before I decide to be the adult in this whole ordeal and say to the father, “I am sooo sorry that my wife did that.” He mutters that it is OK and draws the boy tighter to his chest as he hurries away.
Anyway, the child survived (as far as I know), and we found a tree after we left the Garland Road Home Depot and went to the Skillman location, where my wife had wanted to go in the first place. It wasn’t quite a Christmas miracle, but in these unprecedented times, you take what you get.