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.


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