By LARRY WOODY
There was a story in the news the other night about a Christmas tree being stolen off a front lawn -- decorations and all -- and it makes you wonder about someone's perverse holiday spirit.
Let's assume the conifer culprit took the pilfered pine home, set it up in his/her living room, and plugged in the lights.
They blink this merry message:
Every time the crook looks at the glittering Christmas tree he should be ashamed.
Of course someone like that probably doesn't have much of a conscience to be bothered with. After stealing the Christmas tree they probably went to a shopping mall and shop-lifted some gift-wrapped presents to put under their crime-tree.
Anyone who would steal a Christmas tree would swipe little Timmy's crutch, snuff out Rudolph's glowing nose and put Ex-Lax in Santa's cookies.
Earlier there was a news story about someone who sneaked onto a Christmas tree lot and made off with a load of expensive evergreens. The theory is they sold them to "unsuspecting customers" in other areas of town.
I have trouble believing a perspective buyer wouldn't be suspicious of a shady character peddling cut-rate Christmas trees in a back alley:
"Phssssss! Hey, pal, wanna buy a Christmas tree? Real cheap?"
I'll bet most of the people who buy one of the stolen trees knows -- or strongly suspects --it was stolen. And yet they have the audacity to take the illicit tree home, decorate it, and sing Silent Night beneath its ill-begotten boughs.
Stealing Christmas trees off a lot is pretty low-down. I have a friend who has a Christmas tree farm and he works hard all year to try to make a profit during the holidays. To have all that hard work wiped out by some low-life is infuriating.
But it pales beside the gall of the thief that stole the decorated tree off someone's front lawn.
At our house we decorate our tree with heirloom ornaments, several of which have dangled on our family's Christmas trees for four generations. Some of the ornaments have photos of kids and grandkids, now grown, and other family members.
How could the Christmas tree thief look them in the eye as he sits by the fire sipping eggnog and listening to Bing sing White Christmas?
("Hummmmm ... so those are the children of the family I stole this tree from ... cute.")
If this were one of those warm and fuzzy Christmas stories in Reader's Digest, it would have a happy, sentimental ending: the Christmas tree thief would succumb to the true meaning of Christmas, have a change of heart and return the tree. He would leave with it a note of remorse and apology, and a promise to mend his ways.
But this is real life, so don't expect the crook to return the stolen tree.
All we can hope for is that as he squirms in its cold, incriminating glare, the Grinch gets diarrhea from his mug of shop-lifted eggnog.