Junction 54: A Town Without Trees

This year, apparently, it was a bad idea to wait until two weeks before Christmas to get a real tree in Durham.

We’ve got a fake tree that works perfectly for our townhouse, but given the pandemic, the politics, and the general crapitude of 2020, I thought it’d be nice to bring a fresh-smelling tree into the house – falling needles and all.

I’d seen reports in the news about the local lots selling out. When we finally embarked on our tree hunting adventure, we found the Perkins Orchard devoid of all but some scattered boughs, the usually reliable TROSA lot as dark as the defunct H.H. Gregg store behind it, and the Scott’s outparcel in Woodcroft limited pretty much to some wreaths and big trees ($120 or more) that would overwhelm our living space.

No luck.

Catherine worried that I’d be horribly disappointed.

Maybe in another year I would’ve been. But 2020 has taught me to drastically lower my expectations. I’d steeled myself for the likelihood our search would come up empty. Back of my mind, I knew that if we couldn’t score an actual tree, we could fall back on the boxed tree waiting on a top shelf in the garage. And, the more I thought about it, the more relieved I felt. Maintaining a real tree would be just one more invitation to chaos in a year already full to the brim with mayhem.

In the end, I got to ride around southwestern Durham with my family, looking at Christmas lights in different neighborhoods during the adventure. We picked up a wreath from Scott’s, a bristly consolation prize.

When we were done, we got takeout from Chubby’s Tacos.

I ate far too much.

I have no regrets.

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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