Originally posted August 2008
When you have five children, the potential for adventure lurks in every moment. We have rocks up the nose stories, fire in the oven stories, wet cement stories, but there is one DeGraaf story that has become known as “The Classic.” This is the one that friends will pull me aside after church to meet their sister from Cleveland and say, “Tell her the Christmas tree story – that’s my favorite!”
So, here goes…
It was a sunny mid-December day and a balmy 45 degrees here inChicagoland. We decided it was perfect weather for going to the tree farm and chopping down our Christmas tree. We piled everyone in the car (at the time, our oldest was in junior high and our youngest was about a year old). We spent a couple hours searching the farm for just the right one (like it mattered), chopped it down, went on a hayride, drank some hot chocolate, gave the tree to the man who put it on the shaker, bound it in plastic netting and tied it to the luggage rack of our van.
We decided to take the boys to Pizza Hut. This was our very first attempt at taking our whole family to a restaurant and it was mayhem. Our little guy was fussy, the 3 year old spilled a huge glass of pop, pizza sauce was everywhere, and the wiggling was out of control!
We got back in the car and headed home.
We lived on a gravel road, so our mini-van was in constant need of a car wash. On that day, it was completely covered in dust; especially the rear window. I had purchased 100 car wash coupons at the local automatic car wash and had gotten into the habit of running the van through every time I passed the car wash.
You guessed it……I turned to Ron and said, “Hey babe, it’s a beautiful day, let’s get the car washed.” Turns out, he is just as dumb as I am and he said, “Okay.”
The car wash was jam packed with people (remember it was December and 45 degrees in Chicago – everyone was out getting the winter sludge and salt off of their vehicles). We pulled in behind 2 or three other cars. Someone else pulled in behind us and we were just waiting our turn, when this guy came walking over to the driver’s side window (I thought Ron knew him from work or something, ‘cause the guy had a big grin on his face.)
He said “Hey man, how ya doin?”
Ron said, “Pretty good.”
The guy said, “You know you can’t go through the car wash,” as he looked up and pointed to the top of our van.
At first, Ron looked at him with his head cocked slightly to the side as two deep folds formed between his eyebrows with a look of “Why not?”
And then reality set in for the both of us. We had an 8 foot blue spruce strapped to the roof of our vehicle. I laughed so hard I was crying! I mean, I laughed all the way home and seriously almost wet myself.
Our junior high aged son said he was going to write an essay titled “Why my parents are morons.”