Leave it to fa­ther to ‘fig­ger’ things about

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?”

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.

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 four­inch 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.

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

Deb­bie Adams

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