Berlin Law Firm December 2018


Timber and Tradition My Holiday Memories

I still vividly remember the way it felt to cross the threshold into that house when we brought the tree in: the warmth rushing to meet my prickling cheeks, the smells of last night’s Thanksgiving dinner mingling with the scent of the fresh pine we’d dragged back from the wilderness, and the crackling of the fireplace. The experience was like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. This holiday tradition never lost its magic. Even after the childhood talk and “revelation” about Santa Claus, this day was something I always looked forward to and understood was special. From spending the morning picking out a great tree, to the afternoon spent chopping a mound of firewood to keep us warm all winter, to an evening of eating leftovers and decorating, there was no better way to welcome the Christmas season. There are a lot of childhood memories we only realize are special after the fact. But this is one that I knew was special in the moment. Coming to Tulsa from the Montana wilderness, obviously my Christmas traditions have changed a lot. I can’t exactly grab an ax and head to LaFortune Park to get a Christmas tree — not that I’d need to anyway. You see, my wife and I have created a new, unique Christmas substitution of our own. A few years ago, during an after-Christmas sale at Restoration Hardware, my wife picked up these two metal “trees.” Not fake Christmas trees — in fact, they aren’t even pines. Don’t tell Estelle, but they look like a tree after a forest fire roared through. Essentially, they’re metal renditions of

stripped regular trees, with light bulbs for leaves. Estelle leaves them up year-round as decorative lamps.

When the Friday after Thanksgiving does roll around, we do hang an ornament or two on one of these metal tree limbs, in keeping with the spirit of the season. As big of a departure from

In the picture you see, the three smiling kids are my little brothers and me, having just hunted down that year’s Christmas tree. Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, our father would let us pile onto the sled behind his snowmobile and drive us up to the timberline of the mountain behind our ranch. We’d dismount, chainsaw or ax in hand, and begin our search for the perfect tree. Our annual tree hunts certainly beat Black Friday shopping. With basically a whole mountainside to choose from, we took our time finding the exact tree we wanted. With a Thanksgiving meal in our bellies and the excitement for Christmas in our minds, we’d easily spend an hour bounding through the snow and exploring old logging trails. Our only real concern was accidentally picking a tree that was too big for our home! Some years, our mom would tag along with us, but usually, when there was snow, she took it upon herself to go down to the tack room and pull out all of the Christmas decorations. By the time we got back, she’d have the Christmas music playing, the fire roaring, and the stockings hung.

1 Berlin Law Firm • Here’s to the magic of the season and REAL trees, - Lee Berlin my childhood as this sounds, I have come to accept it as opposed to doing what everyone else does by getting a regular old tree. When you’ve spent your childhood Christmases with a freshly cut tree in your household, store-bought pines or replicas just don’t do the job. So, we thought, better to have something radically different than something that misses the mark. (I secretly want a real Christmas tree again. Although she doesn’t read the newsletter, please do not tell her. She loves those burnt-renderings of trees.) From all of us here at the firm, I hope you and your family enjoy your own holiday traditions this month, whether you’re sticking with something from your childhood or trying something new.

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