”Dad, let’s go. I’m cold,” Doug said.
“Yeah, me too, Dad,” Dana said, echoing her older brother.
“Steve please,” Arlene said. “We’ve been out here for hours and you still haven’t found your ‘perfect’ tree. It’s going to be dark soon, the kids are tired and, quite frankly, so am I.”
“Just a little while longer, hon,” Craig said. “I don’t want to have to come all the way back out here again. I’ll know it when I see it.”
Arlene looked at her watch. “Kids, let’s give Dad another 15 minutes,” she said. “If he hasn’t found his perfect tree by then, we’ll go.”
“Aw Mom!” the kids said in unison.
After about five minutes of walking deeper into the woods, Steve stopped abruptly. “Look,” he said excitedly. “Look at the way the late afternoon sun is shining directly through the branches of that tree and down upon us. It’s a sign from the heavens that this tree, this perfect tree, was meant to be our family’s Christmas tree this year.”
Steve took his portable, gas-powered chain saw out of its sack, and went to work on the base of the tree. It was almost dark by the time he had the tree down and was able to maneuver it onto the large sled. He hauled the tree-laden sled back to where they had parked the family’s pickup truck.
The drive back to town would take a few hours, and both of kids and Arlene had fallen asleep shortly after Steve started driving. Despite having poured himself a cup of lukewarm coffee from the thermos he almost always had with him, Steve, himself, was struggling to keep his eyes open.
It wasn’t until mid-morning the next day when the park rangers discovered the overturned pickup truck at the bottom of the steep ravine.
Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Sorry about the dark turn this story took. I didn’t expect it to go in that direction, but that’s where it went.