Back in 1999, my best friend, Henry took me one weekend to his father’s choose and cut Christmas Tree Farm in the little town of Vale, NC. While I was on the farm, I worked on the platform. Platform work is shaking trees, drilling holes in the bottom of them, and putting netting on the tree. This was only a couple of days out of the Christmas Tree season. I did this on one weekend a year between 1999 and 2002 (I missed the 2000 tree season).
In August 2003, I got the phone call that people hate to get. I got called and was told that my best friend had died. The next morning, I rushed to Charlotte and started the grieving process for my best friend. During my alone time with Henry, I was able to remember all the fun times that we had together. I also made a promise to him, that I would help out on the farm for as long as I could and as long as I was able to help on the farm.
Since that time, I typically work on the farm beginning the weekend before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving weekend (Thurs – Sun), and the weekend after Thanksgiving. If there is a special event, I have been known to work the second weekend in December as well. Normally, I leave work on Friday afternoon and drive to the farm (3 to 3 1/2 hours), work the weekend. and drive home on Sunday night. This happens again on Wednesday and Sunday, then Friday and Sunday. I burn up in the Interstate between Durham and Hickory, then the back roads to the farm.
Long story short, Saturday, November 18th, will be the start of the 2018 Christmas Tree season. This will be my 18th season on the farm. During this time, I have seen kids grow up, and bring their girl friend to the farm, propose, and now bringing their family to the farm to see the whole process continue. One of the other traditions, that has come from this promise is, on the first Sunday in December his father and I make the trip from Vale to Charlotte and lay a wreath on his grave.
I am going to try to do a Facebook Live session on either Friday, November 17th in the afternoon, or early morning on Saturday so that y’all can get a chance to experience a little bit of the farm. If you’d like to know more about the farm, please check out the farm’s website at: http://www.helmschristmastreefarm.com