Love and the Christmas Tree Nymph
A Flynn's Crossing Seasonal Novella
If a Christmas tree gets chopped down in the forest, does a man who believes the pen is mightier than the saw come back in one piece? Vince Cassidy, lifestyle journalist and klutz, isn’t sure. The fact that he’s promised his wife DK he won’t swear only raises his stress level. Rain slicked ground, kids smarter than he is, and a tale of generations past ensure that his two left thumbs won’t get the job done in this new holiday tradition.
Here’s Vince’s first person account of the adventure, and his tale of the Christmas tree nymph’s love from long ago. Enjoy the magic of a holiday tradition, with a whole lot of love and sugar added in!
From the Author: The idea for this novella came to me when my dear hubby and I were cutting down our tree at the same place I’d been going to for almost thirty years. Members of my family who used to be part of this party are long gone, as are many of the real life characters who operated this tree farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
But who would be the best voice to tell this story? Superstitious Vince, with his penchant for getting into trouble with his big mouth and even bigger heart and being a writer to boot, was the perfect character. I wanted to stretch a little with this piece as well, which is why I used his first person voice. His tale at the end is based on common mythical themes, embellished as any fiction writer likes to do.
I hope you enjoy reading this vignette about the daily lives of the girl tribe and the wolf pack as much as I loved writing it!
And here's an excerpt!
I can usually get myself into trouble all by myself. In this case, though, I had help. My creative agent, Randy, presented me with the bright idea. I think he had encouragement from my wife.
“Just write the story. I sold a version of the concept to four magazines, and that’s not even mentioning uses on your V. M. Cassidy blog. The sponsors love it. And besides, DK wants a real Christmas tree this year.”
Yeah, my wife DK put the bug in his ear.
It’s not that I don’t understand where Christmas trees come from. The plastic ones grow in manufacturing plants, paying wages that let people buy holiday treats and presents for the ones they love. Real ones grow on a farm, and some lumberjack with a big chain saw cuts them down, ties them up, and ships them to pop-up lots around the country. It’s supply and demand. I support the economic principle.
But cutting down our own tree in a forest? I’m not so sure. And I couldn’t even swear about it because I promised DK I’d try to cut down on the curse words. On days like today, it made personal expression very unsatisfying.
And then there was Randy’s parting remark. “I know you’ve been doing some research on all that woo-woo stuff, you know, mythical creatures and fairy tales about those people who live in the forest with the spirits. They probably don’t have indoor plumbing or electricity. Throwbacks, if you ask me, but then again, who am I to say that modern science understands it all?”
Yeah, I had been doing my research about things that can’t be explained, because some things can’t be explained. I love a great mystery almost as much as I love my wife – or a great story. Taking these factors into consideration, and remembering that DK would have me by the snowballs if I refused to join the merriment, I headed out to take my chances in the wilderness, albeit with reservations.
No one told me it was supposed to be colder than frigid icicles out here. I grew up in the Northeast and I should know better. The bottom two buttons on my coat won’t close, courtesy of my happiness with my wife, and I wished I’d thought to bring gloves.
“Sh – sugar, it’s cold.”
From the driver’s seat of the truck, DK shot me a warning look, and then followed it up with a brief kiss.
“I’m proud of you for making the effort, Vince, but you’re stalling. Come on, this will be fun. Here.”
My wife looks like a woodland pixie, her short flame-red hair peeking out from under a bright green stocking cap that would make an elf jealous. Her coveralls, the ones she uses to create the art she’s famous for, mold her into a cross between a baby bear and a welder. Well, the latter part is true. Her smile spreads from ear to ear. How is a guy supposed to say no when this makes his wife so happy?
She pushes a pair of heavy leather gloves into my hands, the same kind she uses to handle metal pieces in her studio. Her hands are as small and delicate as they are strong. My longer fingers and wider palms fit perfectly into this pair. There must be a message in this somewhere.
Why again did I think this would be a good idea? Oh yeah, Randy.
“Honestly Vinnie, you’d think I was asking you to have all your teeth pulled out without a pain killer right before the holiday roast is ready so all you can do is gum your food. Go cut down a Christmas tree at one of those mountain tree farms your area’s famous for and write about the experience. Get your buddy Dane to take a few pictures, and you’re done.”
I could hear him beaming through the phone about his coup. People around the world were dying to hear more about small town life in the picturesque northern California foothills, and they especially ate up holiday traditions and legends as if they were sugar cookies and candy canes. My Hollywood director buddy Mac swore the same, which was why they were shooting footage for a Flynn’s Crossing documentary too. Not only would I be lost in the wilderness with a chain saw, but the misadventure would be captured for posterity in stills and video.
And I absolutely wasn’t allowed to swear. Fu – fudge.