After church last Sunday up in the Northern California town of Paradise, a former Los Angeles resident who hadn’t been in the snow since he was 12 got
the idiotic notion what seemed to be a fine idea at the time to haul his three kids up into the mountains in the vicinity of Lassen National Forest and get their Christmas tree the old-fashioned way: by trespassing into the woods, chopping one down without permission and stealing it.
According to the man, they parked off a narrow mountain road in the late afternoon, trudged uphill a bit, picked out and sawed down a tree that was just minding its own indeciduous business, started back downhill in a different direction and –doh! — failed to reacquire the road from which they’d come. After two more hours of marching into the total darkness that had fallen they realized they’d be spending the night al fresco. Then the snowstorm blew in. Later came the frostbite and probably a whole bunch of self-recrimination on daddy’s part and plenty of bitter thinly veiled “I’m related to this guy?” looks from his kids.
Three days later with a lot of faith, hope, luck and a team of 45 search & rescue professionals scouring the area, the four were found in remarkably good condition. Once released from the hospital the kids expressed their excitement at being on National TV (Yippee! Lookatme!! My dad’s a certified doofus who almost got us all killed because he was too cheap to buy a tree at the lot down the street from our house!!!). Not to be outshone by his publicity-hungry spawn their beloved pops demonstrated his capacity to learn from such an ordeal. “Next time I go out there,” he said, “I won’t be a knucklehead.”
Next time??? In an effort to prevent that from happening a quick-thinking local radio station gave him a Christmas tree.
P.S. Jaded and snark riddled as I may be, I’m happy all ended well (for everyone involved except maybe that poor tree that they cut down for nothing), but still… if voting wasn’t closed already I’d write-in this guy for L.A. Grinch of the Year. He may not live here anymore but since it seems as if we’re giving the award to the mayor of another city I figure anyone’s fair game.