Most of us know the lyrics of this traditional, much beloved German Carol [In German, "O Tannenbaum!", or "O Christmas Tree" in English] and I remember singing this carol at school Christmas pageants. Yes, for sure a few years ago!! Why do I write about this particular Christmas Carol, the following explains:
On Friday, Novembr 23rd, I took Christmas boxes to the M/V MERLIN moored at the grain elevator at Temco. The Captain and crew were all from Ukraine. Only five of the crew had shore passes and the rest were detained on the ship. The Captain spoke very good English and was very personable. On the way to Tacoma Mall the Captain advised me that he would be leaving the ship and a new captain would be boarding the vessel for the return to the Far East.
While waiting for his return from the Mall, I went back to the ship to take a cell phone/charger for their use. I also sold numerous phone cards and they were very pleased with the number of minutes for calls to family and friends.
After a good visit to the ship, I headed back to the Mall to transport the Captain and Chief Engineer back to the ship. On the way back the last thing he told me was that he had promised his crew a FRESH Christmas tree (no fake) and could we obtain one? I told him I would see what we could do. He was to keep it fresh until Christmas Day by storing it in the "cooler" [a cold storage compartment aboard the ship].
His request for a Christmas Tree kept running through my mind on Saturday, and it so happened that Mitchell's Tree Farm in Gig Harbor opened on Sunday.
My wife Barbara and I left for Mitchell's, cut a nice tree and then headed for the ship. I had expected the ship would leave Monday and little did we know that it was scheduled for departure late Sunday afternoon. Actually, we arrived about one hour before departure and with help from one of the crew members made a quick dash to load the Christmas tree on board the ship.
Unfortunately, the Captain had left the ship, flying to New York for a connection flight home to Ukraine. I feel confident that he will know that his crew received that fresh Christmas tree. Somewhwere--out there in the Pacific Ocean--stands "O Christmas Tree" and how richly God has decked thee!"--Submitted by Tom Harris.