49: The Christmas Tree Sale

49: The Christmas Tree Sale

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic

The Christmas Tree Sale

You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

~John Wooden

When my son was in Cub Scouts a few years ago, I volunteered to be in charge of the annual Cub Scout Christmas tree sale here in our small town of Woodstock, Connecticut. I was able to find a supplier who agreed to sell me sixty trees at a good price, which the Cub Scouts could then sell at a nice profit. The day before the sale, the trees were delivered and locked just inside the gates of the fairgrounds. The plan was to open the gates the next morning and sell the trees. I had carefully scheduled each Cub Scout in the pack for a two-hour shift in which they would sell the Christmas trees (with a parent, of course). I had even stood up at the pack meeting and given the Scouts a pep talk about doing a good job selling the trees and about having Christmas spirit. (I think the scouts had more spirit than the parents did, as they grudgingly signed up for their shifts.)

The problem occurred when there was a heavy snowfall that night; about one foot of snow fell, and the snowplows had plowed the snow up high right against the gates as they were clearing off the road in front of the fairgrounds entrance. I arrived there early that morning with my young son and daughter and two snow shovels. My husband was at work, so he was unable to help. As we tried to shovel away the huge mountain of snow, I realized it was hopeless, and it would take two days to shovel the snow away from the gates in order to get the Christmas trees out.

I thought of all the time I had spent organizing the sale, and how disappointed the Cub Scouts would be if they couldn’t sell the trees. I also thought of all the money they would lose. As we continued our futile attempt to shovel away the mountain, I thought about my options. I could not afford to call a snowplow company to clear away the snow. I was also sure that all of the snowplows were busy anyway, clearing off parking lots and driveways. If the Cub Scouts had to pay for plowing, their profit on this fundraiser would be gone. I thought of calling parents to help me shovel, but I knew that would take hours, even if I could get any of them to agree to help, and the booth was scheduled to open in one hour!

Just then, a man with a large snowplow pulled up and offered to plow the entire area for free. I watched in awe as he quickly did the job. He also took the time to clear off another large area, so that cars could pull up and park.

I was so overcome with gratitude that I forgot to ask the gentleman his name. But he had white hair, a long white beard, and as he drove away he said “Merry Christmas.” I remember my son asking “Mommy, why do you have a tear on your cheek?” I looked down at him, with his little Scout uniform on under his coat and said “I’m just happy it’s Christmas.” The Christmas tree sale was a big success, and we sold all the trees that day.

~Teri Stohlberg

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