My wife knows how to pick a fine specimen (a Christmas tree, of course).

If my wife had been as discriminating picking husbands as she is picking Christmas trees, I can only assume we wouldn’t be married.

Two days after Thanksgiving, we descended upon Home Depot, where all of the unworthy trees had made the long trek from the frigid forest to be placed next to a big-box store in Florida and be met with serial scorn.

She has an unwritten policy of never settling for at least the first five trees — often 10, or more — that we lug out and stand up straight.

“Too short” and “too thin” and “too many leaves in there,” she judged.

Far from cheer, this tree inspired disgust.


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Our 6-year-old said earnestly, “Mom, I found a good one.” One glance at it and my wife let out an “Eeeehh!” mimicking a game-show buzz for a wrong answer.

She is always certain that to find “the one,” you must tug aside ten other trees that are hiding it from view. So that is what we finally did.

“This one,” she declared, peering deep into the pile. “This is gonna be a good one.”

I teamed with Lavaras, the unlucky soul in an orange apron who was amid the 7- to 8-footers and had to help us, to pull aside all the trees blocking it in, then we stood it up. Even in its straitjacket of twine, it looked energetic, its branches looking like they were about to burst out. Unrestrained, its build was thick, its green lustrous, its shape perfectly coned.

In my moments of peak delusion, I like to think maybe my wife did apply the same exacting standards to picking husbands: That tree she found is fine.

Her fine specimen



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