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It didn't seem fair. The first and only trip that he had been making to the city he had to make lying on his side. The landscape was so different out here away from the forest of Bush country the highway which he had only seen from a distance seemed so flat he hadn't realized the pavement would be so smooth. But even more he found himself frightened by the speed at which he was travelling and the cars in the other direction passed so close and seemed to be flying. He tried to raise himself to get a better look at the countryside from a more normal position. But he couldn't budge. They tied him securely and tightly in place with strong ropes which rank it around a concrete block at his feet. He could only lie there half anxious half excited by the fate that awaited him at the end of the road. CFR and radio presents the Christmas tree and true story created for radio by John Barron featuring Bob Wilson is narrating Arlene Dee is mother and Jocelyn Palmer Sandy
technical production by Jim Grant. Producer John Baron and I'll tell you the true story of a Christmas tree. Here's Bob Wilson. Once upon a short time ago in a forest west of Edmonton nestled in the foothills. A little sapling felt saw the first rays of sunshine. He was born in a little road that had a variety of trees and grew up in the shade of his mother because he started life so close to his mother. She had an opportunity to teach him the ways of the forest. His dad had been named Ruth spruce a name that seemed of a cornball of mama's prayers. And he had an uncle named Blue who was really a lush. Definite green. So in junior high. She had a bit of a problem thinking up a name. All the other trees were willing to help Douglas firs suggested planets. Jack Pine liked the name Engelberg. And even all Pop's old
poplar tree threw in a name. But mama just couldn't stand a husband named Bruce and a son named puce. And then she thought of it. When JR was born. Everyone noticed that his trunk was small and a light sandy color. All those needles were bright fresh green. Why not call him Sandy and she did. And the name stuck. Sandy spruce. She sang softly to sleep. And then as the warm spring turned into summer and Little Sandy started growing and growing. Well Miss Bruce began his education. First she taught him how to talk to the other trees by letting the breeze run through his needles like vocal chords. Sound that we can hear but only another tree can tell you what is being said. She taught him about the sun and the rain and the wind. And then one night after some young lovers
had sat under her branches watching and. Talking about the ways of healing. Effect and affect the didn't make much sense to treat his mother winced with pain. From. Left. Shoulder forever. You mustn't worry about that. A tree has many things. In our hair. Squirrels had nuts in our trunks. Take shelter under our branches in a storm. Humans need us for many practical things. We're part of their very homes the furniture and many many practical uses but they also play their part so that people can enjoy with loving care in their gardens. Pruning and trimming our branches to make limited landscapes. They carve their initials in our trunks. It's just
a lasting sign of their devotion to each other and we carry these hearts with pride. The year passed swiftly by and through the pleasant warm summer days on into the fall. And one day Sandy noticed that all his friends the poplars were changing colors and green was being replaced by yellow. And some of the smaller bushes of a growing near the ground were even turning pink and rosy red. It's nothing to worry about. This season is the fall season and all the poppers go to sleep for the winter. But before they do they give a blaze of beautiful color to make a lasting impression until their Green returns in the spring. But I'm not turning red or yellow. You're an evergreen Sandy. You're the privileged trees. You stay green all year round food. Cheer the happy folk for the long winters. Will it be cold. Of course but he will love it. It's invigorating and fresh. And because we stay green all winter.
We've been chosen to help celebrate the greatest of all human holidays. Then Mama went on to tell them the story of Christmas. And how the mind jive visited the baby and brought gifts and from this true tradition of giving gifts to come. And then she told them about the privileges of being an evergreen and how it was a great honor to be chosen for the family Christmas tree. It was an old custom that had originated in Germany. Right now the whole middle of my family's cotton Evergrey and often in the spirit of the season the children would decorate the branches with candies and cookies and other animals. And then to make the tree blow it was the star that heralded the birth. Someone had lit candles on the tree. As the years passed the tree became a symbol of Christmas in every land. And soon the tree was even more gaily bedecked with colored lights. Ten sold a million ornaments she told Sandy that with the advancement of man and his inventions It was only natural that he would soon make artificial trees.
But all they were popular. There were still many people who preferred the real evergreen and the smell of the forests that are brought to the home. It was indeed an honor for the tree. No matter how small a home to be chosen is the symbol of Christmas. The trees one by one drop their leaves and went to sleep. The forest became quiet. Several of the friendly birds that perched in the small branches said goodbye to Sandy and flew away. Where are they going. They'll be back and his friend Sandy. They're flying south where it's warmer. And don't worry the snow birds and sparrows will be here to keep us company. The forest became quiet her and quiet her until one day. The wind started to blow stronger and stronger. And it became colder cold. Then all of a sudden. Down came the snow. Sandy felt his branches rustle your clothes.
You were sure he'd be blown away. Roots and all. Finally when it all ended he looked again it was a beautiful sight indeed. The whole world had turned up beautiful white all the poplar trees were outlined in snow and all the evergreens looked like they were decorated for Christmas just as mamma had described it was a marshmallow world and it was wonderfully new. And it wasn't long after that the gayest crowd arrived in the wood. The younger ones tumbled about in the snow while the older children and adults stopped by and
admired each tree. Here's a big tall one too tall not big enough around. Look at this one. Not too bad. A bit short though. And so it went as they selected their trees. They selected young Douglas fir and he was so excited he almost forgot to say salaam to Sandy. They selected several others and carefully they packed them out of their sleighs and were gone. Mama spruce was happy that they hadn't chosen her. She felt that Sandy still needed to know more about the ways of the world. The seasons came and went. Sandy grew and room. Filled up considerably in the warm sunshine. And he had a marvelous summer season again with all human visitors. And his bird and animal friends. But most of all he loved his conversations with the older trees. The story is that his mother told him I'm OK I'm. Tall enough now to see the cars.
I love. He was. Ration aided by the activities. In the following. Once again it was with. A fresh. New invigorating Committee. Beloved the. World was a. Beautiful. I just. Wasn't prepared for what happened. Friendly families by. The. Christmas tree. Here's a perfect tree and just the right size. Eat. Oh no it couldn't be there looking at his mother. Sandy couldn't believe that they would choose her. Of course she was beautiful. But she was his mother. Yes it's a beautiful tree and just about the right size. And what about the smaller one for the front foyer. The man was pointing at Sandy and for a moment he was so surprised that his sap stopped flowing. It would be all right. But look it's been in the shade of the big tree and it's all one sided this side is much smaller.
Sandy couldn't believe it. They were taking his mother. But his mother said Don't forget it's a real honor to be chosen to Christmas make many people happy. And I look so beautiful. And besides you're a big boy now and you know the way of the woods. You must take my place. You're like your father and help the other trees to do with a shed to make man happy. And with that she was gone. Sandy spent a very lonely winter that year realized when the cold winds blew that his mother had protected him and many times his sap ran cold in the snow birds chirp merrily around him. He scarcely heard them. It was a long cold hard winter and he missed his mother. And then suddenly it was spring. The poppers woke up his bird friends came back some new flowers grew at his feet and before long he found himself telling the younger
trees what was happening it was a great day when the robins chose his top branches for their next. Event realize that suddenly he had grown tall tall enough to respect the attention of the other trees. He looked just like his mother. Said. Yes he's big and handsome too big enough to have lovers choose him as shelter for their picnic. And his mother was right. It felt great when they carved their initials of love and his tough bark. He felt that he was a true full grown spruce. The years came and went and every December Sandy would print up as needles stand tall and wait anxiously as the Christmas tree families came to choose their trees. And each year they would choose the one next to the one beside him the one over there. The one over here.
But never him. And the excuse was oh. He's too one sided. Look how much longer these branches are on this side. No matter how he tried as he grew and grew. It seemed that the side that had been shaded by his mother was just that much behind his sunny side. And so the seasons passed and the summers and the falls and the winters and the years. And the saddest winter of all the winter that no one even considered him. They chose trees from all around they leaned on him and discussed the others. But they didn't even look at him. Slowly he realized he'd grown too tall. Now he was too big to fit anywhere. Fire too big for a house too big for the school room. Much too big for a shopping mall. And alas even too big for a church. But Sandy spruce wasn't one to mope. He'd been brought up by his mother to turn disappointments and disasters into bandages he was soon planning all the things he could do to make the forest a happy place to live. He tucked
the wind into carefully scattering the seeds of the various theories so that all of the saplings would get a chance to grow up in whole sunshine and not turn lopsided. He told the birds which branches and which trees were the most sturdy. And when the poppers had had a death in the family he had a whole family of robins in the hutch of rabbits and some squirrels move into the grove to help cheer them up. During storms he sheltered the area and when people came in he let the breeze hum softly through his branches. The sun filtered through just enough to happen. All the time. And he was the biggest tree in the forest. But not only the biggest He was the most loved. Every tree every animal the wind and even the grass and the flowers loved Sandy. And the years went by. And then it was December again. But it was an unusual December. There was
something in the air. Everyone could feel it. And yet no one knew what it was. Certainly there was snow and bright moonlight and there were the usual Christmas tree families choosing from the many different species in the forest. But it was more than that there was a feeling of anticipation. One bright sunny morning Sandy woke up to hear two men approaching. They were talking quietly not loud enough for him to hear what they were saying. They didn't look like the usual treat families. Then suddenly Sandy recognized the man. It was the friendly forest ranger who often walked these words in his helmet. And the one who directed the fire fighting the year that lightning hit old grandpa first started a fire that threatened all the trees and this broke. They were finally saved by Willie when they used all his strength to keep his friends safe rather than by blowing the flames the other way. And also by the trench the forest ranger had dug around the park. They were not looking either way. They were walking straight for Sandy Hook and saw him. And when they stop the
forest ranger pointed at Sandy and said Good heavens he certainly has baked a real whopper. He's the biggest thing in the park. Just look at him. He's the most handsome most perfect do you right. Absolutely. Sandy had to realize that as the years passed. He had been too busy helping his friends. But through those years the sun and the rain had worked wonders on his website. Now it was perfect. Then began the most elaborate preparations that any one of the forest had ever seen. It was a very complicated procedure. Well you see Sandy had grown mighty big through the years and he was 75 feet tall and his last birthday and he certainly wasn't skinny. It was exciting.
A truck had to be carefully back in the area. There was no way that they could turn it around once they had the big tree lying on the back and there was the packer that was sent him first packed down the snow so that the truck wouldn't get stuck and there were men everywhere giving directions. Nah it certainly was exciting. Then Sandy was secured with many ropes in every direction and a big crane like when she was secured to the boat. Unlike all the other trees that Sandy had seen chopped down on his face they used a big powered chainsaw. It was such a smooth cut that he scarcely fell. Lower into the truck bed was done carefully as he didn't want to break any of his nice branches all over. Sandy was so excited he didn't think he'd drop a single move. Finally when he was resting comfortably on a little bit. The gentle man secured him tightly with ropes and a long exciting trip began. It all happened so quickly that his goodbyes were brief and they weren't sad. Everyone was thrilled that he'd been chosen. And although they weren't sure for what they knew it must be important and they were rocked.
What fate awaited him at the end of the road. Well the truck moved slowly down the highway and after several hours of travel Sandy realized even from his lying down position that they were coming to a city a big city. When the truck reached the outskirts they stopped. And they were right in front of a radio television station. The photographers came out and took pictures of Sandy and Algis came out and talked to the men and it was then that he heard. Yeah it's the biggest tree we've ever had here in the City of Edmonton. It looked great in front of our City Hall and be almost as tall as the building itself. Sandy had been chosen as the Christmas tree for the city. And not only that he was to be the dancing lights tree and sparkle away in the center of a skating area in front of City Hall. Churchill Square. What an honor. If only his mother could see I'm not. Well that excitement getting him up in the
square. A man with a large machines putting on his life and the television station taking pictures and then finally the big night there himself in a country wide broadcast pole the gigantic switch that not only turned on all his colored lights but all the city decorations as well. Then to the radio signal. His lights danced to twinkle and sparkle. Sandy felt great. So this was what Christmas was like in the city. It was a sight that was unbelievable. People came from far and near to see I'm sat in their cars with their radios tuned to the music to watch as my friends Nancy and Tom came with their skates. They played happy games around and everyone in my room. He suddenly knew what his mother had meant by that Christmas feeling. He was completely happy. We should end the story here like all good fairy stories.
But as you remember this is a true story and this isn't where it ends. So one happy day just after all a fantastic New Year celebrations two young skaters stop to admire Sandy and his dancing lights. Isn't it a beauty so big so bright. It's the most beautiful tree I've ever seen in my whole life. Too bad too bad. Too bad it's also short lived. What do you mean. I mean Too bad such a gorgeous tree after sparkling so brilliantly making the scene so beautiful is taken down and just thrown in the fog and. Thrown in the fire. Through and in the fire. Sandy's SAP ran cold. He dances so brilliantly in and join the Christmas spirit. He thought about the. Next days passed slowly. He couldn't even make his light sparkle to brag and he scarcely noticed the people who came to see it didn't seem fair.
After leading such a long hard life in the forest not being picked when young and after his moment of glory could be thrown into the fire. He tried to tell himself that he had had his big moment but he just couldn't help feeling a bit depressed. So depressed that he scarcely noticed the form inserting the money on this case but with winter shoes on their feet. When he didn't notice them. He thought to himself. ALL THE TIME HAS COME. I'll try to pump a play in the creek. Sure what do you think. Well I think he's exactly right. He certainly tall enough and big enough around to think he'll do. Yeah. Well then came the same preparations and more excitement. And to make a long story short you know what happened to Sandy. Sometimes even true stories have happy endings. And after all we've been through together. I'm glad of this one that.
Sandy was chosen to be the main gate post for the new Fort Edmonton display like memory. Where they restored the old fort and there you'll probably stand welcoming people to the display. And enjoying the happy sounds of children discovering the excitement. And someday when you visit the fort. I hope you'll say hello to Santa. This true story of the Christmas tree was created and produced for CFR on radio by John Barrowman Lombroso muslin I writer Arlene Dee the mother technical production was by Jim Wright. Others in the cast included jostling Homme Howard dong Kerry Tucker and Margaret on. This program was distributed by NPR National Public Radio.
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The Christmas Tree
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Radio Theater
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University of Maryland
Identifier: X71-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:22:55
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Chicago: “The Christmas Tree,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024,
MLA: “The Christmas Tree.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2024. <>.
APA: The Christmas Tree. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from