Wednesday, December 16, 2009

O Tannenbaum

Senior year of college, I lived with five of my friends in an on-campus suite. Because of our room number, the group of us became known by the collective "Suite 102". And during this time of year, I am reminded of one of the best days in the history of Suite 102: the day when we smuggled a live Christmas tree into our dorm room. While this doesn't seem like a very scandalous thing in the greater scope of the world, as far as we were concerned breaking this Housing commandment ("Thou shalt not have a flammable live Christmas tree... or a halogen lamp...or a hot plate.") was one of the most daring things we had done in our four years at the Cross.

One Saturday in early December of that year, the six of us piled into my old Buick Regal and drove out to Ashland, where Suzer's father owned a nursery. There we purchased a tree (short, but full), which we managed to stuff into the trunk of my car. It was an exciting and suspenseful ride back to Worcester as we planned how we were going to get this tree past campus police and other watchful eyes. Before driving up to the gate at Linden Lane, we dropped off part of the group to look less suspicious.

While the others walked to the dorm to open up the basement door, I drove up to the visitor check-in and as nonchalantly as possible told the officer that my roommate and I were dropping groceries off at our dorm. (I lied about which dorm we lived in, making it seem like we lived in substance free housing, and therefore what wrong thing could we POSSIBLY be doing.) It was a tense moment for me, but we were let through the gate without incident and made our way up Linden Lane to the dorm, hoping that the back gate was open so that we could get the car right up to the basement door. (Students weren't really supposed to be driving around campus so a lot of parts of the road were blocked off.)

Luck was on our side, and the gate was open. As we parked and opened the trunk to take out the tree, the basement door opened, and there were our suite mates to help carry the tree up to the first floor. Before we got to the door with the tree, we noticed the boys who lived in the suite across the hall (affectionately known as the "Egg and Sugar Boys" because our first day in the dorm they came over to offer to loan us eggs and sugar if we ever needed it) were watching from the windows of their corner room. When they realized what we were doing, they started cheering and applauding us, which was both hilarious and flattering.

That night, a good number of our friends came over to help decorate the tree and eat macaroni and cheese in our room. Je Glide and Jodapus went to Kimball dining hall with Tupperware to get some milk and butter for the mac and cheese and something for dessert. I assumed cookies, but this was a big day in our Suite, and they thought we needed something a little more "memorable".

Fifteen minutes later, they returned, not only with the milk and the butter and some rolls, but with two huge tubs of ice cream that Je Glide had liberated from the "make your own sundaes" ice cream freezer. Laughter filled the room as the the two of them recounted how a member of the football team, who had seen what they had done, unsuccessfully tried to persuade them to stop. As our group of friends ate our fill of mac and cheese and ice cream, the scent of the tree filled the room, and I was filled with the spirit of Christmas.

We had a lot of fun that year, and that next semester had even more memorable moments, but I will never forget my first live Christmas tree - contraband in my college dorm room.

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