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FAMILY   -   FAMILY FEATURES
Kid's Review
A Christmas Gift
December, 2005 - Issue #14
Do you remember the bark beetle infestations of 2003? My family has a house in Wrightwood, where a majority of the trees were killed by the beetles and later chopped down before they could become a fire hazard.

Every year, we like to visit in hopes of experiencing a white Christmas, and 2003 was no exception. We arrived with the spirit of Christmas in our hearts and dreams of a snowstorm dancing in our heads. Even though it was below 32 degrees, no snow fell, though the wind was howling.

So much for a white Christmas, I realized. As I walked up to a window facing the backyard I asked, "Was that tree killed by the beetles?" My grandpa replied, "It looks like it. Why do you ask?" "Because it's moving!" I said in a loud voice. My family rushed to the window, but then retreated to their holiday activities, insisting that it was not really moving, but simply the wind. Regardless of their assurance, I was not convinced.

As evening fell, the wind howled louder. I kept glancing out the window where the tree was shaking. Again, I asked if it was going to fall, but the automatic answer was "No!"

While I helped set the dinner table, the wind seemed to die down. "Just like the calm before a storm," I thought. As we sat down to appreciate our meal, there was a loud gust of wind followed by an earsplitting crack. The house shook and the floor trembled as if it was about to split apart.

"Is everyone okay?," I breathlessly asked seconds after the rumbling ended. They nodded their pale faces. "What happened?" someone inquired. Immediately I said, "I bet the tree fell." My family retorted that it was probably an earthquake.

Then someone said, "I think Jolie is right, look out the window! The tree is gone and I don't see the porch." Sure enough, as we stepped outside, the porch railing was gone and in its place was an 80-foot pine tree lying across the ground. I couldn't resist stating, "I told you so!"

After realizing that we came very close to being crushed, we acknowledged that we had received the best gift of all that year.

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When it comes to the great outdoors, Jolie knows a dead tree when she sees one.
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