After Thanksgiving Christmas trees crowd the sidewalks of New York.
On the corner of Fulton and St. Felix Streets the holiday franchise has been run by Laurent and Amy, who have transported evergreens from the northern forest of Quebec for the last six seasons. We spoke in French with their accent a provincial Quebecois and my r-less speech betraying my Boston roots.
Last year they gave me a small tree for my bedroom at the Fort Greene Observatory. I called it Ole Tree.
I thanked them with a bottle of wine, which we drank together right before they returned to Canada.
"Merci." I was sad to see them go, but they said, "Next year."
We hugged good-bye and I returned home to adorn the two-foot tree with Buddhas, ribbons, and a silver star.
Most of our neighbors tossed out the drying trees after the New Year.
I kept water in the small bowl beneath the severed trunk and Old Tree remained green throughout the winter. AP's kids liked Ole Tree. We ate cookies in the Observatory, while I told them stories of the north woods. Lizzie and James liked my tales of lumbermen along the St. John's River. I had heard them from my grandfather.