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Annapolis drives me up a tree

December 23, 1999

Oh, to have Annapolis' problems.

It's not a sewer debt, a stadium or university branch campus that has the state capital up in arms, it's the Christmas tree. More specifically, it's the decorations on the Christmas tree that sits proudly on the City Dock in the beautiful Annapolis harbor.

In celebration of the state's more traditional roots, the tree is decorated with baskets of apples and bananas, sorghum and soybeans, hanks of dried tobacco, ears of corn, rakes and pitchforks.

Annapolis resident Ted Grier told the Associated Press, "With all the things thrown on it, it looks like a barnyard junkyard."

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I'd say that or a TGIFriday's.

And why haven't we been informed about this great Maryland banana industry?

Must be right next to the mango plantation down in St. Mary's County. Of course, traditional Annapolitans are a tough crowd. They are the ones who hated Governor Schaefer not for his taxation policies, but for the way he trimmed his hedges.

This just shows what happens when creativity rears its ugly head where no creativity is called for. Now there's nothing wrong with the red bow/clear bulb/white light layout, but heavens, it's always been done that way. Which opens the door for a Christmas tree that is less an article of beauty than it is a political statement.

What might Iowa put on its Christmas tree, hogs? Perhaps Sheriff Mades could decorate the tree out at the county pen with little electric chairs. And I can't help but wonder what The Locked Door might be decorating with this year.

What would be the perfect Washington County Christmas tree? Just a tree.

Without ornaments - we're too tight to buy any.

No, I don't like the idea of a tree that "says something about us and who we are." This makes it sound less like a celebration of the season than a group therapy session. If I want a Christmas tree, I'll get a Christmas tree; if I want a mid-life crisis, I'll get a sports car.

I'm all for heritage, but you kind of have to wonder what Maryland's actual forefathers, who actually used pitchforks and rakes on a daily basis as part of their jobs, would think of this decorating scheme.

Think about it. A hundred years from now, does this mean people will be decorating their trees with computer keyboards and fax machines?

This whole decoration thing has gotten out of hand, anyway. Used to be a single string of lights was just fine. Then they blinked. Now we have the icicle effect where dozens of little strands of lights drip down from the main strand, and now they blink too, so you're never sure if you're coming up on a house or a brothel.

But back to Annapolis. There is one thing the townsfolk may be overlooking, and that's the fact that it could have been a lot worse.

After all, the city on the Chesapeake isn't as well-known for its agricultural products as it is its aquacultural products. They may never know how close they were to a tree decorated with rockfish - with Elvis singing over the loudspeakers "I'll have a Blue Crab without you."

Apparently this is a bullet to which they came close a year ago, when the tree's makeup artists tried to depict a waterman in the tree by hanging a rain-slickered mannequin. Some people thought it was a drunk (in Annapolis? Noooo), and others thought it looked like a corpse.

I can see where this could be a problem, particularly for young families assigned the task of teaching their children that Christmas is a good thing. "Daddy, don't make me go near the dead man tree."

"It's that or the shopping mall."

"Flip a coin."




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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