I made my annual trip to the shopping mall today. Christmas is everywhere – decorations, music, home décor. I am amused by the retro trend. Aluminum trees have made a come-back. I was too young to remember, but family stories tell me that our family’s last “live” tree was a pine cut from my Granddaddy Brown’s farm. It stood in the corner of my parents’ living room, so that it could be seen from outside through both the corner windows. I’m sure that it was fragrant and beautiful, especially in contrast to the presents underneath. On one particular year, my mother wrapped all the gifts in shiny white paper. Gifts for men sported green bows; gifts for the ladies wore red bows. A few days after the tree went up, black dots started appearing on the white paper. What everyone assumed to be specks of pine resin turned out to be baby TICKS. As in blood-sucking arachnids. The warmth of the house brought them out of the pine bark, where they had been dormant for the winter. The tree made a rapid exit from the house and was replaced by the “tin foil” version, complete with the rotating color wheel. I loved it from the first day.