By K.J. Cardinal
Today we were able to continue our family tradition of cutting down our Christmas tree on Papa's birthday. The original Leo Cardinal would have been 95 years old today.
This year's tradition had extra meaning for us as it was the first time having a little Leo Cardinal of our own in tow to help carry on the tradition. Obviously Leo didn't have much of an active role in the process this year, but it was definitely a special occasion and his namesake would have been proud.
Anna, however, was VERY active in the whole process. She helped pick out the tree, helped cut it down and provided entertainment along the way.
We told her she could pick out whatever tree she wanted. At first she liked this idea, but then she was a little bummed when we informed her that she couldn't get this little sapling that she seemed to love.
In the end, Anna helped pick from the handful of full-size trees that we chose. It was a good compromise, but in hind sight, I kind of wish we would've gone with the sapling just because she was so cute posing with it.
At the end of the day, I noticed something that caught me off guard a little and left me a little teary-eyed. Behind where we parked, there was a shed housing an old Ford tractor.
Sure it wasn't the right color or the same model as Papa's old, red tractor, but the fact that a 50-plus-year-old Ford tractor was sitting there staring at me on this day brought back a lot of memories.
When I asked the elderly man that owned and operated the tree farm about the tractor, he was quite proud of his old machine that he's owned "forever" and still uses to this day to plow snow.
Talk about the most fitting way to end our annual tree cutting tradition. Little Leo was with us in body, but the original Leo Cardinal was also clearly with us in spirit. We miss you, Papa.