Trees, December 8, 2012

The Town Hall

New York, NY

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Listen (MP3)


GK: Hi.

SS: Hi.

GK: You just arrive?

SS: Yeah.

GK: There was a Scotch pine here this morning named Theresa but maybe she got sold.


SS: What does "sold" mean?

GK: It means you go somewhere else.

SS: Oh. ----- How long you been here?

GK: I guess two or three days.

SS: My trunk hurts.

GK: Yeah, mine too.

SS: They cut me with a saw. I bled. It was horrible.

GK: I know. Me too. You have nice needles. You a spruce?

SS: Yes. Are you?

GK: Norway pine.

SS: Ahhh. I thought Norway pines didn't talk.

GK: It depends.

SS: I really like your needles.

GK: Well I've got a little bald spot on the other side. That's why they have me turned this way. Against the wall.

SS: Well. You look just fine to me.

GK: Thank you.


SS: What do they sell in this store?

GK: I saw somebody come out with a big pack of toilet paper.

SS: Oh. My fiancé was made into toilet paper.

GK: Oh.

SS: We said goodbye- (SNIFFLES) I thought he was going to come on the truck but ----- they threw him into the pile for toilet paper. He was a short-needle. But I loved him. (SNIFFLES) His cone dropped right beside one of my cones. ----- I thought we'd have a baby. (SNIFFLES) I'm sorry. You don't need to hear this.

GK: It's okay.


SS (SHAKY): I'll be okay. Thanks for listening.

GK: They say, everything happens for a reason.

SS: What's that supposed to mean?

GK: Maybe you and he weren't meant to be.

SS: How can you say that? I loved him. I want to die.

GK: Well, you're going to. And soon.

SS: I know. Good.

GK: But you have to live in the now. Here we are—you and me— Why not just be here?

SS: Are you hitting on me?

GK: I'm just leaning on you. See? (RUSTLING)

SS: That feels nice.


TR (TRUMP): I'm looking for a long-needled tree, something kinda flashy. You know, where people see it and they stop and they go, 'wow, that's a quality tree.'

FN: This one over here is quite nice (RUSTLES)

SS: Uh oh.

TR (TRUMP): Oh yeah. I like that.

GK: Get your hands off me. So invasive.

TR (TRUMP): It's a good tree. Would be good for the foyer of my apartment. How much is it?

FN: Ninety five dollars.

TR (TRUMP): Ninety five dollars? I'll give you eighty.

FN: I'll take eighty. Deal.

TR (TRUMP): Deal. Okay let's go (RUSTLING)

SS: Oh no. No no no. Don't go—

GK: This is it. I'm gone.

SS: Wait, stop—

GK: Goodbye, everybody. Goodbye, corner store. Goodbye, the spruce of my dreams. (SS CHOKES BACK SOB, RUSTLING) Remember to live in the present. Don't hang onto memories. Someone else will come along.

TR (TRUMP): Wait a second wait a second. Hang on. There's a big bald spot in the back.

FN: Oh. I didn't see that.

TR (TRUMP): Yeah I'm not taking this one. In fact, maybe I don't want a tree at all. Maybe what I want is a really big wreath. (FOOTSTEPS OFF, A BEAT)

FN (OFF): We have some nice wreaths over here, prices range from (FADES)

SS: Wow. That was close.

GK: Yeah, imagine having to listen to that voice all day. I wouldn't mind being his toilet paper, I'd bite him in the-----

SS: Shhhhh. Don't think about it. Look. What a beautiful night. The street lights. Those yellow cars with the lights on top. The bells (BELL, OFF, LIGHT STREET NOISE, A BEAT) Okay you're leaning on me again.
GK: Was I? Sorry, I didn't realize.

SS: It's okay. I kind of liked it.


GK: You did?

SS: I think so.

GK: I wasn't going to say this but — I'm quite a bit older than you. I've got 47 rings on my trunk. I'd say you've got about 16. I was in the woods for years before they took me away. You may rather talk to a tree your own age.

SS: What is age?

GK: Huh?

SS: I never heard that word before. "Age". What does it mean?

GK: I could really get to like you, you know?

SS: I like you a lot. The wind doesn't feel so cold with you leaning against me.


GK: I don't know what to say.

SS: Don't say anything. Let's just stand here. Okay?

GK: Okay.

SS: Okay.



FN (YOUNG): What kind of tree you want to get?

ER: What kind do you want?

FN (YOUNG): I like this one.

ER: What's wrong with this one?

FN (YOUNG): That one?

ER: Yeah. It's bigger.

FN (YOUNG): It's got a bald spot on the other side.

ER: So?

FN (YOUNG): It's ninety-five bucks.

ER: Let's get it.

FN (YOUNG): Okay. Be right back.


GK: Can you tell?

SS: Yes, I can.

GK: So can I. I'm going to be the last Christmas tree they ever get.

SS: I know.

GK: Odd, when a tree dies, it gets the power to see death in the faces of people. I've been standing here three days and I've seen a dozen people who won't live another year.

SS: Which one of them do you think will die?

GK: I don't know.

SS: Probably him.

GK: Yeah. I wish we could tell them to hurry up and live their lives and not wish for things that can't be----

SS: To live in the here and now.

GK: Yeah.

SS: But would they listen if we told them?

GK: Probably not.


FN (YOUNG): Okay. Let's go.

ER: Did you pay him?

FN (YOUNG): Naw. Ninety-five is too much. I saw one down in the Village for fifty.

ER: I don't want to go down to the Village. Let's buy this one.

FN (YOUNG): It's too much.

ER: Well, then you go. I'm going home.

FN (YOUNG): What is your problem?

ER: My problem???

FN (YOUNG): You been on my case all day.

ER: Have not.

FN (YOUNG): I can't do anything right. Bitch bitch bitch.

ER: Okay, that's it. I'm going.

FN (YOUNG): Go. I don't care.

ER: I know you don't. I'm out of here.

FN (YOUNG): You going home?

ER: I don't know.

FN (YOUNG): What do you mean, "I don't know"?

ER: I don't know.


SS: They just don't get it. They don't live much longer than we do.

GK: Oh well. Beautiful night. Look up.

SS: Oh wow.

GK: Stars.

SS: Wow.

GK: That's where Christmas trees go when people are done with us. Up in the sky. With stars on our tops.

SS: Wow.

GK: I hope I'll wind up there next to you.

SS: I hope so too.

GK: You want to sleep, go ahead, you can lean on me.

SS: Thanks.

GK: My pleasure. My pleasure.



Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

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