The Rescue Tree Page 2

    “Well, OK,” said Bucky. “You’re right, this tree is going to weigh a ton. Maybe what we’ll do is just put a few things on it outside. I mean, not take it in at all.” The helpers had dragged a set of metal ramps over to the tailgate of Pete’s truck. Now they were steering a handtruck, with the rootball of the year bulging over its sides, toward the ramp. The handtruck careered from side to side, its wheels almost flattened to the ground.
    “Pete and I can roll it off next to the door, that’s no problem.” Everyone’s eyes got big as they saw the ramps sagging under the weight of the tree. The helpers shouted directions at each other as they shoved and groaned.
    “We could roll it over to be planted…” Bucky’s voice trailed off. The tree was finally resting in the bed of Pete’s truck. Dave Showvacker was asking if they thought the tree was all right, was in a good position. Bucky patted the root ball.
    “Yes, fine,” he said. “Believe me, that’s not going anywhere.” As he and Pete got in the truck, Dave began to motion traffic over, out of their way. Terrie, Loie and Alyssa took off in the Big Red Jeep. The rest of the Expotition had long since walked through the petting zoo and said their goodbyes. Now Pete could finally take Bucky and his tree home. As they backed out onto the gravel drive, Dave walked past their truck window.
    “Is it all bark, or has it got any bite?” he asked. Pete’s truck came to him with special mufflers that make it a bit loud.
    “It’s got plenty of bite to haul big old trees,” said Bucky, and Dave laughed as he waved them on their way.
    “I bet he’s glad to have a sucker take this left over tree,” said Bucky. He was having second thoughts about his choice. Pete smiled as they chugged out of the tree farm.
    “I bet your tree’s glad to be going to a good home,” he said.
    It took only a few minutes, really, to drive back to Loie and Bucky’s house. The ladies were waiting for them, still outside in the warm sunshine.
    “Wait,” said Loie as the boys pulled up to a stop. “We have a plan. What if you just drive the tree over to where you want to plant it?”
    “Wow,” said Bucky. “This is getting easier and easier.” He knew where the tree should go, and, without even getting out of the truck, Pete and Bucky drove ’round the front yard to the south end of the Christmas Tree Windbreak. The ladies walked along, with Terrie shouting “Driving on the grass, driving on the grass,” a traditional Edgett chant.* Pete and Bucky had no trouble rolling the giant root ball tree off the end of the pickup.
    “We know it's going to be easy to get it to go down,” said Pete.
    “And you know what?” said Bucky as everyone stood about, enjoying the ridiculously balmy air. “Instead of indoor ornaments, we could make this a bird tree. Let’s decorate it when we plant it, with stuff for the birds. All the guests can help decorate it, as part of the planting.”
    “Perfect,” said Loie. “You’ve come up with a new tradition. This is so much better. I was worried about our friends having to try to move this big heavy thing.”
    “Well,” said Bucky, “this rescue tree is turning out to be some kind of fun.”
    “How about coffee?” said Terrie.
    Loie and Bucky had a nice visit with Terrie and Pete while Alyssa had a little nap on the futon sofa in the playroom. But all too soon it was time to get cracking again. Terrie and Pete needed to get their tree home, and Loie and Bucky were due to meet the Expotition at the Full Moon restaurant for dinner. The dinner was a bit more intimate than Bucky had expected: most of the Expotition turned out to be busy with prior committments. But an intimate dinner is also fun, and Hilary introduced Loie and Bucky to some of the lesser known specialties of the restaurant.
    “You’re still going to come back and help us decorate our tree, aren’t you?” Hilary asked as dinner was winding down.
    “You’ve got it up already?” said Bucky.
    “Of course,” said Mark. “We’re on the ball.”
    “Hah,” said Bucky. “Well, you sure are. Of course, we’d love to help.” Loie and Bucky did go back to the Hatfield’s after fried banana dessert at the Full Moon restaurant. Dida, James and Krasner the cats helped with the Hatfield’s tree. They watched as Hilary strung the lights in the tree, with Nathan and Bucky helping hold the strings of lights to prevent their tangling; handing them in to Hilary as she worked.

* Many years ago, Bucky committed a great sin. He drove across the grass of The Lot at Bellview. There had been a party, and Bucky's old Volkswagen Beetle, Bugger, was trapped at the inner end of the driveway. Bucky had to go on some errand, or perhaps it was time for him to go home; the exact circumstances are long forgotten. In any case, rather than asking for the driveway to be cleared out, Bucky just drove out into The Lot and onto Bellview Avenue.
    Well, when next he saw Yo, she was livid.
    “Those marks will be in my grass for ages,” said Yo. “It makes the lawn look terrible, like hillbillies live here.” Bugger had left tracks of pushed down grass in Yo's lawn. Bucky apologized and promised never again to drive on the grass. Yo made sure to tell everyone else about the great sin of driving on the grass.
    It was some years later that chores were being done at Bellview, and something needed to be hauled around back, or hauled out of the back. To everyone's amazement, Yo told them to just drive across the lawn. On the grass. She said the marks would soon grow and be mown out.
    And of course, being Yo, she made a game of it, calling out, “Driving on the grass, driving on the grass!” Now, that chant is required in her memory, any time anyone drives across grass.

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