A sure sign of Christmas
Are there houses you watch at Christmas, to see if their traditional decorations will be on display again? The house in the photo above is such a place for me. I pass it frequently; it's along my usual route to Hopkinsville.
I've never met the people who live there. I think their name is Oatts, and I think they own the nice farmland that surrounds the house. But these ideas of mine aren't verified facts; they are merely my deductions from reading the local newspaper, hearing people talk, and so on.
Every Christmas for the past decade or so, a big John Deere tractor has been parked in the front yard of this house. Santa is in the driver's seat, and a Christmas tree and gift-wrapped boxes are lifted high in the loader bucket. It's fun to see this scene in the daytime, and it's even cooler to see it at night.
The Christmas tree is always a red-cedar. Red-cedars grow abundantly around here. I've always imagined that sometime each year, they spot a red-cedar on their farm that is just the right size and shape to be the next uplifted Christmas tree.
When I saw their Christmas tractor for the first time this year, I called Keely. "All's well in Christian County," I told her. "The tractor with the Christmas tree is in its rightful place." She knew exactly what I meant.
I had a nice e-mail today from Rose Tooley-Oatts. She is the wife of Malcolm Oatts, and they live in the house in the photo above. Their farm is called the "Four Mile Farm".
Miss Rose said that they have been doing their Christmas tractor since 1993. Sometimes they talk about scaling back on their outdoor decorations, but they hear so many nice comments every year that it's hard to quit.
When they first started decorating the tractor, the packages under the uplifted Christmas tree were cardboard boxes. They filled the boxes with rocks (to keep the wind from blowing them away), wrapped them with white butcher paper (for moisture resistance), and tied them with big red ribbons. Eventually, Miss Rose happened to find some lighted Christmas boxes, intended for outdoor display, to put under the tree.
Red-cedars have been harder to find around the farm in recent years, so they now use an artificial tree. (My eyes expected to see a red-cedar -- and saw one!)