When our daughter, Sandy, belonged to the St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Girl Pioneers in sixth grade, the leaders thought it would be nice if the girls made pinecone wreaths for their families for Christmas gifts.
So the group gathered pinecones, soaked them (to shrink them) and bought wire wreath frames and adhesive to hold everything in place.
A few days before Christmas, they and their leaders delivered the finished crafts and sang Christmas carols. Then they went back to church for a Christmas party.
Through the years—as Sandy went through high school and college, then got married—we proudly hung up her wreath each Christmas.
In 1986, the wreath was hanging on our door as usual when the temperature on Christmas Day reached 80 degrees. The adhesive began to break down and the pinecones started falling all over our front porch. We took the wreath down, planning to repair it, and gathered up the pinecones.
That spring, as my husband, Don, was weeding the flower bed in front of our house, he was surprised to discover a small evergreen seedling. We decided to leave it alone.
The determined tree kept growing, making it right through the long winter. When it got too big for the flower bed we moved it to the back of our lot. As the tree grew, so did our family, including four grandchildren.
One day the men from the electric company came to trim our trees. One of them said it was a shame that someday our nice evergreen would have to be cut down.
We just couldn’t let that happen to our faithful—if accidental—Christmas tree. We decided to move it again, this time to Sandy and her husband Joel’s new house in the country.
My husband helped Joel dig the evergreen out. It wasn’t ready to let go without a fight. They were afraid they were destroying so much of its root system that the tree wouldn’t survive. Finally, five hours later, the tree came loose. They wrapped the roots as best as they could and put the whole bundle in Joel’s trailer.
After an hour’s drive they planted the tree, hoping for the best. I’m happy to report that our brave evergreen is still growing, now producing pinecones of its own. Maybe someday we’ll even have another homegrown Christmas tree.