Title: Ikey's Big Dream: To Be A Christmas Tree Author: Lynn McEachern (Meatball)
Rating: G Summary: A cute little Christmas story, with a highly-fictionalized account of our first Christmas tree. Please, read & review! Cheers, Lynn.

This is the tale of a tree. Rather, of a little tree who wanted nothing more than to be a big, beautiful Christmas tree. This is the tale of Ikey, and his big dream of becoming a Christmas tree.

Ikey was raised on a Christmas tree farm, somewhere between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. This farm was located in a beautiful valley, a valley that contained nothing but trees, as far as the eye could see. This was the Christmas tree farm.

Ikey…well, Ikey was trying his very hardest, to grow up tall and strong, like the other trees surrounding him. Every day, he would drink up all of the water that he could, and he would try to absorb all the nutrients that the tree farmers would give him; although, truth be told, it was very difficult. Ikey was not a big tree; he didn't have very many branches, and the branches that he did have were rather sparsely needled.

Late at night, after the tree farmers would go home, the trees would talk amongst themselves, telling stories, and singing, and whispering. These were the times that Ikey liked best. His very favourite storyteller, Edgar, was a beautiful big spruce that grew beside him. Edgar had the very best stories and the very best songs. Edgar was very nice to Ikey, too. Some of the trees made fun of Ikey, for being so small and scrawny, but Edgar never did. "There's a human for every tree, Ikey," he would say, when Ikey would shed tears of sap. Edgar would sway a little, and let his beautiful, lush branches brush soothingly against Ikey's thinner ones. "Don't worry, Ikey," Edgar would say, when yet another bigger, more developed tree would be chosen by humans to go home with them. "Don't worry. Someday, your human will come, and you'll go home with that human, and you'll be the one Christmas tree that they'll remember forever."

Edgar told wonderful stories; stories of trees that went home with humans, to be decorated in the most beautiful colours of red and green and gold and blue. To be watered with the most delicious sugared water, and to be the center of attention, all through the Christmas season. Sometimes Edgar would tell the story of Pyezod, the forty-foot tall tree that still lived in the center of one nearby human town, who was decorated with the most marvellous lights every Christmas. After hearing these stories, Ikey resolved to try to double his nutrient intake on the morrow, and grow at least as tall as Pyezod, if not taller.

It was Ikey's tenth birthday, the year that he was officially old enough to be chosen as a Christmas tree. The winter season approached, and he could scarcely contain his excitement with each dawning day. Perhaps this would be the day that he would go home with a human, and become a Christmas tree!

The days passed…and every day, Ikey became more and more despondent. Humans would come and walk around the lot, pointing at the taller, fuller trees. If they looked at Ikey, they often laughed. Every night, after all the humans had gone home, Edgar would tell Ikey to take heart, to have courage. Someday, his human would come!

Then came the day that Edgar himself was chosen by a human. Ikey was filled with anguish, watching his best friend in the whole world leaving with his new family. Now, more than ever, Ikey felt all alone.

One day, a human walked through the tree farm. He walked through the farm, pointing out various trees. Never once did he point at Ikey, who was drooping sadly. Several of Ikey's farm mates were being loaded into the back of a big truck. Ikey heard them whispering of a "tree lot".

He had heard of tree lots. Edgar had told him that they were smaller versions of tree farms, where humans came to choose a tree for their home. These tree lots were located closer to human towns and cities, which made it easier for the humans to pick up a tree.

The human was talking with the humans who farmed the trees. Ikey could not hear all of their conversation, but the result was that two more trees were loaded onto the back of the human's truck. Then -- hope shot through him -- the human was looking right at him!

Both humans laughed; then, the farmer chose Ikey and tossed him onto the back of the truck!

Ikey could have laughed for joy. He'd been chosen! He'd been chosen! He was going to go home with a human and be someone's Christmas tree! It was too good to be true. He wished that Edgar could see him now.

Four days later, Ikey was miserable.

He'd lain on the ground of this tree lot, for four days now. He was the only tree left! No human had come for him. Many humans had walked by, and some had even pointed and laughed. Oh, how could this be? Wasn't there a human for him? Had Edgar been wrong, after all?

It was dark out, and a light snow was beginning to fall. The tree lot human was taking down the signs, and the fences, and was packing up his operation. Finally, the human came over and stood next to Ikey.

"Well, little guy, it's Christmas Eve. I guess I'm not going to be able to sell you. And it's just about time for me to close up shop and go home."

Ikey was near tears. Christmas Eve! No one would ever want him now! Edgar had told him that humans always had their trees home and decorated before Christmas Eve. Ikey would not be anyone's Christmas tree, after all. No one wanted him.

He heard the human calling out to other passing humans. "Free tree, anyone! I'm closing up here, just got one tree left! Free tree, anybody! Free tree!"

Laughing, humans just passed by, and shook their heads. No one wanted or needed a tree, not even a free one.

Just then, a young couple stopped. The tree lot human called out to them. "Free tree! Here, kids, come get a free tree -- it's my last one, and I just want to go home for the night. Free tree!"

Ikey watched as one of the humans turned to the other. The other shrugged, and said, "Sure, why not? But we'll pay you anyway…we don't want to take advantage of you."

"No, that's fine," said the tree lot human. "Just give this little fellow a good home. Merry Christmas to you!"

"Merry Christmas to you, and thank you!"

Ikey could scarcely believe his good fortune, as one of the humans picked him up. Could it be true? Could he actually be going home with someone?

A few minutes later, he found himself being carried through a large building, into a lovely warm apartment. The apartment had very few furnishings, and many boxes. He found himself being mounted into a tree stand, and was given a long drink of delicious cool, sweet water.

One of the humans said to the other, "Well, this is a fine tree for our first apartment! It's our very first Christmas tree."

The other human said, "Shall we decorate him? My parents gave me some Christmas ornaments, just in case we wanted to decorate."

Ikey could have burst from happiness. His sparse branches were hung with small balls of blue and green and red and gold; a bright, shiny garland was draped about him, and ropes of gaily-coloured tree lights were strung on his limbs. A small gold star on his very top branch completed his new outfit, and when the humans plugged the lights in, he thought that he looked very fine, indeed, in his Christmas outfit.

At last, his new humans pushed him up against the windows of their apartment, so that anyone passing by could see him, and he could see out the windows. He had a very nice view of the other buildings nearby, and of the blue, blue waters of the bay across the road. Ikey liked his new home very much.

Just when he thought things could not be any better, his humans placed several cheerfully-wrapped presents beneath his branches!

Ikey was so very happy -- he had a home, he had fine decorations, presents, humans of his own. He had fulfilled his dream.

Ikey had become a Christmas tree!