We spent Christmas at my parents' in Hendersonville, NC, which is somewhere south of Asheville somewhere in western North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge mountains. A beautiful area of hills and hollows, Appalachian mixed with southern lite.
One of my tasks was to procure and set up the Christmas tree (my second of the season, but who's counting?). On a cold rainy morning Henry and I dashed out to make Christmas happen. We needed a new tree stand first as well as the tree to put in it. We weren't up for dealing with box-store parking and crowds, so went looking for a local tree lot. Unlike Oregon, they're not on every corner in NC. But there was an ancient hardware store next to a little garden nursery down the road and I stopped in, hoping to get both errands done at one shot.
I ran into the hardware store first. This was the kind with an ancient wooden ride-on horse on the porch, wood floors, bins of nails and deer heads hung on the walls. It came complete with three menfolk hanging around the stove discussing an old car. I asked the young man at the counter if they had Christmas tree stands.
Unfortunately they didn't, so I asked where I might find one nearby. He called to the men: "She's looking for a tree stand - do you know where she can find one?" They looked over and checked me out. They seemed confused, concerned and doubtful. One said: "She's not really dressed for it," as they looked at each other with some alarm, taking in my suburban mom ensemble. Another said to the group: "Well, isn't there one down the road a few miles?" "Yeah, Harry's got one at his place..." I said "Is that a store?" We all stared at one another. The young man of the group said "No, a Christmas tree stand! To hold a Christmas tree!" Light dawned on their faces. "We thought you was going deer hunting!" "We didn't think you was dressed for it!" They all laughed and looked relieved. My turn to be confused.
Turns out that a tree stand in western North Carolina refers to a structure in the woods from which to shoot deer. I noted that I didn't have my gun with me, we all guffawed awhile and they directed me to the nursery next door where I got the needed tree stand, threw a tree into the trunk, and headed home to produce Christmas.