Thursday, January 7, 2016

Christmas enthusiasm leaves a mark

By David Horst

Our 2015 Christmas tree was
a ceiling-scraper, but it
was a 
beauty -- a 10-foot Fraser fir.
I discovered coworker a kindred spirit in a coworker this week when we started comparing stories about the greenish-brown streaks on our ceilings at home.

These are the marks of a homeowner who insists on a live Christmas tree -- a big, live Christmas tree. They appear when you push the envelope on your 9-foot ceilings or cathedral ceiling or two-story foyer and miscalculate by an inch or two.

Tip the tree up and the very top scrapes the ceiling. The combination of firm stem and green needles betray your miscalculation to all who enter your home.

We have a storied history of trees that push that envelope. None brought the woods into the living room like "the Beast." It was a massively thick white spruce that exceeded or 9-foot ceilings and was nearly as wide as it was tall. 

We gave up significant square footage of living space that Christmas season.

My coworker had heard my stories of Tannenbaum excess in the past and sought my advice when she and her husband decided to find a different tree farm to assure they could add to their ceiling scrapes.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A loud call of thanks

By David Horst 

Here's something I'm thankful for.

It has been nearly a month since we've seen the pair of sandhill cranes that were regular morning visitors all summer. I had contented myself that we would have to deal with the quiet, unremarkable field until spring.

Then last Saturday we heard that prehistoric call from high above Sandhill Lama Farm. A dozen cranes did a noisy fly-by. It happened again Sunday.

They hadn't abandoned us just yet.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Grand marshal gave great sacrifice

Former U.S. Army machine gunner Alan Lewis is a strongly built man, but his outgoing personality is even bigger than his wide shoulders and broad chest.

He was riding up top of the back seat of my dad's 1958 Ford Skyliner as grand marshal of the Milwaukee Veterans Parade Saturday, greeting the onlookers huddled in patches of sunlight along the downtown parade route.

The Skyliner, also known as a "retractable," has a hard top that comes down into the trunk to create a convertible, making us a good candidate for carrying a parade dignitary. My late father made a tradition of volunteering for the parade and I'm driving to honor his memory.

Beside the grand marshal is young Alan Jr. "Wave that flag high, boy," his father would remind him from time to time.

"Are you real happy?" the boy asked, as his dad is awash in attention from the crowds on the sidewalks.