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Trees Trimmed by Col. Stoopnagle

            As long as Christmas, 1940, is only a year off, and as long as I am known among my friends as Yearahead Stoopnagle, I think I may as well give out right now with the proper way to array the woody Yuletide perennial.

            Many folks make the mistake of selecting the wrong kind of tree.  I had an uncle once who used to insist upon using an Oak.  With the leaves off and the acorns all stolen by the squirrels, I can tell you his tree was often a sorry sight, even though he usually did leave a robinís nest or two in the upper branches.  Perhaps it might be well to give you a list of the trees which work out best.

1.  The Spruce.  This is indeed a nice tree, with needles, and is often confused with the Balsam, which is also a nice tree, with needles.  If you wish to make sure you are getting a Spruce, however, insist that your dealer give you an Impatiens Balsamina, which sounds like a Balsam, but isnít.

2.  The Balsam.  This is indeed a nice tree, with needles, and is often confused with the Spruce, which is also indeed a nice tree, with needles.  If you wish to make sure you are getting a Balsam, insist that your dealer give you a Picea Abies.  He wonít understand what you mean, however, unless he happens to be an ancient Latin, born along about the time of Julius Caesar.

3.  The White Pine.  You can unfailingly tell a White Pine from the fact that five needles grow out of one phoithboinder, which is a word I just made up because I couldnít find the right one in the dictionary I have.  Sometimes, however, only two needles grow out of one phoithboinder, which makes the tree a Norway Pine.

            Perhaps I should list some of the more attractive, and at the same time, more expensive decorations.  Get these at your neighborhood Christmas-tree-decoration dealerís now, tonight, or even sooner, or certainly not later than very early tomorrow morning, as they say in radio.  (Or, better yet, tear off the top of something-or-other, write your name and address on it and send it to me or a reasonably accurate facsimile of me.)  Well, here they are, anyway.

1.  The Red-hued Dropola.  This is a neat little, fully-shatterable glass ornament, which is placed near the top of the tree.  When it falls, it does so with a mighty crash, much to the delight of the children, who didnít have to pay for the darned thing.

2.  The All-Purpose Breakaway Candy Cane.  As nifty a hunk of gastronomy as youíve ever seen, I bet.  The moment a child touches it, it breaks into pieces, which scatter helter-skelter all over the floor.

3.  Stoopnagleís Patented Universal Electric Light Hangeroo, containing twenty-four vari-colored bulbs.  There are too many bulbs, in fact, for one circuit, so the minute you plug the Hangeroo in, there is a blinding flash and lots of vari-colored sparks.  There is also plenty of vari-colored laughter when Father has to go down in the cellar to replace the fuses, which blow with each plugging-in of the Hangeroo.  By this time, Father is even madder than the hornet that Father is madder than.

4.  The Big Moment.  This is a papier-mache star covered with gold tinsel and dripping with just oodles and oodles of Ute Indian beads.  It is saved until last, so that Willie can knock it off in the morning when he makes his Annual Dive for the new sled.  Wired with electricity, it is so powerful that when it lands on Willie, he gets the shock of his life.  His next shock comes when he gets married and has to pay for silly hats.

5.  Popcorn Strings Without String.  These are home-made and here is the recipe.  Ready?  Take quite a lot of popcorn grains and put them into a hot popcorn popper.  The hotter the popper (and, as I said before, Popper is really hot by this time) the faster it pops.  Now, just before you are ready to take the popped corn out, pour in one heaping cupful of ordinary library-variety mucilage.  (Am I going too fast for you?)  Stir this well into the corn until it is all one nice, gooey mass.  Now turn out the fire and place the popper in the refrigerator until the popcorn is tepid.  Then, when you remove it, you toss the whole thing into the sink.  You can get a new popper for as little as a dollar.  (Slightly more expensive in Reno.)

            Well goodnight, kiddies, and when Santa Claus comes bounding through your radiator valve, please remember me to him.  However, if he is the gent whoís been hammering on my radiator all year trying to get out, tell him for goodness sakes to be quiet until Christmas morning, will you?

[From Promenade, December 1939]

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Page created November 14, 2006.  Copyright 1998-2006 by Richard D. Squires.