Marking

 

It’s Christmas tree harvesting season at our house, and Carl loves to join in. I asked him, “What would you like to do this year?”

 

He smiled, saying, “Of course all the trees we grow are the best in the world, but we still have to grade them according to size. I would like to be in charge of marking the trees.”

 

An image flashed to my mind and I shuddered. “Isn’t there something else you’d prefer?”

 

“No, marking the trees is what I want to do.” I didn’t know how to put it delicately.

 

“Carl, won’t it make the trees—smell?”

 

A bewildered look crossed his face, then, suddenly, he blushed. “I didn’t mean that. I meant to use flagging tape, tied to a branch.”

 

I sighed. “Much better.”

 

A couple of days into harvest, Carl rushed up. “Eureka! I’ve found it! The thing that will make us famous! A new kind of Christmas tree!”

 

“We grow noble fir, Douglas fir, grand fir….”

 

 “I found something better. It requires no pruning. It’s a perfect size and it lasts forever. I’ve named it the Robert fir.”

 

 I was flattered and followed Carl to his stash of these valuable trees. This is what I found.

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