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November 2014

The Christmas Trees

By: Jonathan Greeson

 

I was living my dream in Cupertino, California.  No, not working for Apple.  I was an investment analyst working for the top firm on the west coast.  Wall Street was no longer the place to be because of all the computer “nerds” in the Silicon Valley.  They were making money, but they had no clue about managing their funds.  That’s where my firm stepped in.  Luckily, I wasn’t a salesman; I was one who put together the investment packages sold by the advisors.  I loved my job; especially the bonuses I received after making people rich!

That meant I spent hours doing research, which was fine as I love numbers, but my social life was nonexistent.  I wouldn’t even be able to go home this year for Christmas because I was from the east coast and I couldn’t take the vacation days.  My boss wanted to invest part of a fund in retail after Christmas before earnings were reported.  Retail is complicated because people change their minds so often.  One day a shirt is popular, but the next day it’s crap.  We couldn’t just put assets in such a volatile situation.  The firm was counting on me to invest our clients money (we’re talking at least $10 million), so I had to make the right decision.  The plan was to spend all of December analyzing companies.

While disappointed I would be missing Christmas at home I decided to decorate my apartment with a tree.  I wanted a real tree with the fresh pine scent filling the apartment, so after work that evening, I went to the tree lot.  It was December 15 and most everyone already had their tree, so there wasn’t a surplus of which to choose.  I found one and, as I was walking around inspecting it, there was a woman on the other side looking at my tree!

My mom raised me to be a gentleman, so of course, I gave her my tree.  I did offer one condition though, she had to come help me decorate mine and I would help her decorate hers.  It was my first time picking up a lady at a tree lot, but as an investment analyst I know you should never pass up opportunities in life.  Some can be very rewarding!

She was my age and was a programmer for a website.  She was also from back east and wouldn’t be able to go home for Christmas as someone had to make sure the website didn’t crash.  I helped tie her tree to her car, but we came to realize that there was another problem; neither of us had any decorations! We decided to meet the next evening at the local Christmas shop in Cupertino.  Then, after saying our goodbyes, I went back in search of a tree.

The Christmas shop was a quaint “Mom and Pop” store that really helped us get into the Spirit of Christmas even though it was hot and sunny.  We decided that instead of typical ball ornaments, we would only choose ornaments that showed things we enjoyed.  Of course, trying to seem manly, I was picking all ornaments that related to sports.  I do love sports, but I couldn’t help being drawn to ornaments with cartoons and super heroes.  I do love comic books, but I didn’t want her to think I was a dork.

She must have noticed me looking at them because she started talking about them.  She said she loved comics as a kid and wished she could still read them.  Her favorite was the Avengers and we were both admiring the boxed set of Avengers ornaments.  I finally told her there was nothing wrong with enjoying comics at any age and showed her my keychain of Captain America’s shield.

She smiled and laughed saying, “Well I guess we’re both dorks!”

To which I replied, “No, we’re awesome!  People who don’t like comics are dorks!”

After we finished shopping, we stopped for some hot cocoa.  We talked for over 2 hours as we continued getting to know each other.  As we were leaving, I noticed mistletoe hanging over the door, so I stopped and kissed her softly on the cheek.  She looked at me in shock, but I pointed up.  She smiled and as she started to blush she said, “Well I guess it would be bad luck if you broke the tradition, right?”

After decorating our trees, we decided to have Christmas dinner together, which consisted of 2 microwave turkey dinners.  It was just us, so it didn’t make sense to make a huge turkey dinner and be stuck with a month of leftovers.  It was one of the best meals I have ever had, not because of the food (it was awful), but because of the company.  We exchanged gifts (with a $10 limit) and she gave me a Captain America calculator and some Avengers pencils.  She said she wanted my whole office to know I was a dork, but I think she just wanted me to think of her all day.  I gave her a computer themed coffee mug with the same raspberry hot cocoa she had the night I kissed her under the mistletoe.  I was hoping she would remember and let me kiss her again!

As I sit here this Christmas telling this story to my daughter in front of our tree, I look over to her mother.  After 10 years, we both still have the tears in our eyes as we think about how we met.  It’s hard to believe that in a year where we were both expecting to have sad, lonely Christmases, we were brought together by the Christmas trees.

 

 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hey!  I'm also a published author!  Check me out at www.jonathangreeson.com

 

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