Travel, Etc.

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Travel, Etc. --> Christmas Trees & Other Hazards

Christmas Trees and other Road Hazards
and other Zionsville Christmas Tree Lore

The Zionsville Downtown Merchants have once again erected the semi-famous Main Street Christmas Tree. And, once again tempting the fates, it has been strategically placed in the center of the intersection of Main and Oak Streets. It may be 16 feet tall and covered with lights, but after observing drivers narrowly avoiding it for the last few days, I have decided that it is only a matter of time....

Guess the date and time of the Christmas Tree's inevitable demise and win a bottle of Bruno Palliard Brut Premier Champagne, Wine Spectator 90 - $42!

Here is how the contest works...

Send us an email with a day and time between now and December 24 that you think the tree will become a vehicular statistic and win your New Year's Eve champagne!

And, there's a bonus! Correctly guess how the tree meets its end and win a bottle of Raymond Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1998, Wine Spectator 92 - $30! Perfect for New Year's dinner!

Choose from these categories:

1. A speeding teenager with a thumping stereo. Odds 5 to 1
They might not even notice hitting it, and they certainly won't hear it when they do!

2. A well-coiffed woman driving an extra-large SUV while talking on a cell phone and yelling at the kids in the backseat to be quiet. Odds 4 to 1 - Think what 16 feet of Ford Expedition could do to 16 feet of pine and twinkle lights!

3. Kenny, the National Wine and Spirits delivery driver, fatigued after carrying 35 cases of wine down the stairs at Grapevine Cottage, backs into it. Odds 3 to 1 - I am surprised he can still walk some days.

4. A 2:00 a.m. Friendly Tavern patron trying to find his way out of the village in a pickup truck. Odds 2 to 1 - "But officer, that tree was in the middle of the street!" Unfortunately, the police can't be everywhere, so we may not have a precise time of demolition.

5. Four elderly ladies in a large Buick going around the block for the fifth time after 4 failed parallel parking attempts. OddsEven - Given the sheer numbers of them visiting the village during the holidays, this is my odds-on favorite.

Enter now, just hit reply to sender and type the following:

Wine Guy,
I think the tree will be toothpicks on (month), (day) at (time) (am or pm), a victim of incident number (1,2,3,4,5) or (other).

Winners will be announced as soon as the incident occurs! In the case of a tie, winners will have to spend New Year's Eve together and share!
Christmas Trees and other road hazards, continued...

From the November 29th edition...

November 29th at 9:35 am - the tree is still standing... And, No! You cannot hit it yourself and win the Champagne....

We received over 78 responses and or entries for last week's "When will the Christmas Tree be Toothpicks Contest," many of them funnier than my original piece. This week, instead of a recipe, we are printing the best of our readers remarks.

The real jewel among our responses came from Charlie Edwards who relayed the following bit of Zionsville Christmas lore. Read this one closely - we got it Friday morning and didn't stop laughing until Saturday.

Wine Guy,
As I mentioned the other night, the Christmas tree has been a controversy for many years. It was actually hit by a drunk driver in 1981, which prompted my mother (then editor of the town newspaper) to publish a poem lamenting the tree's demise. My mother's poem, in turn, prompted a poem from then Chief of Police, Phil Parmelee, about what a menace the tree was. My mother and Chief Parmelee continued their war in verse for, at least, the following year. The poems are reprinted below.

1981
Donna Monday's (my mother's) poem:

"A Message"

"So we've a message
For drinkers out there.
If you like our town,
If you really care,
Then take First Street
Or Elm (with reason)
Stay off Main Street
During the Christmas Season."

Police Chief Parmelee's poem:

"Dear Vicki & Cheri (Town Decorators)"

"I give you thanks with all my heart,
For the way the tree was taken apart.
When I returned from out of town,
I was delighted to see that the tree was down.
I heard that the person was allegedly drunk,
That made toothpicks out of the Christmas tree trunk.
However, I think it is plain for all to see,
You don't have to be drunk to hit the ____ tree.
Since the tree has been struck maybe you will listen to me,
When I advise you both what you can do with your tree."

1982

Chief Parmelee's poem:

"We've Lost The Battle, Not The War"

"Dear Citizens of Zionsville, I guess you can see
I lost the battle regarding placement of the tree.
We must again run our annual obstacle course
So just park your car and come downtown on a horse.

Now that Main Street is narrowed, with any kind of luck,
The tree will be seen dangling behind a delivery truck.
Those that agree with me please do not lose heart,
We have not lost the war, this battle was just part.

We will come back even stronger next year.
For they are losing ground, and starting to fear.
Let's all join forces and pray we will see
A different placement next year for the Obstacle Tree."

My mother's response:

"Dear Scrooge Parmelee"

"Of horses we have very few;
So with our cars we must make do.
We'll joust and turn and strip our gears,
Just like we have so many years.

To make a place in the middle of Main
For the little tree you think's a pain.
We'll dress it in lights and tie it with bows,
And when it's done, then Heaven knows,
Just as it's settled and a part of town,
Some Christmas drunk will knock it down.

Then Poetic Parmelee will take his pen
And the season's rhymes will begin again.
As to whether or not intelligence doth reign
When you put a tree in the middle of Main."

The 1982 poem was followed by the following
"Post Script to Motorists":

"If you think perhaps
That drunk you'll be,
Then stay off of Main
And away from our tree."

In keeping with form, a final note to The Wine Guy:

Thanks for rekindling the controversy on Main
That once sparked a battle, verse for verse
Refrain for refrain
And curse for curse
About our famous Christmas tree
Between my mom and Chief Parmelee.

Season's Greetings,
Charles Edwards

So far we have 78 guesses for the time of the trees demise, including one vote for its survival through Christmas.

As for how the tree meets its end we have...

3 votes for #1. A speeding teenager with a thumping stereo. Odds 5 to 1

28 votes for #2. A well-coiffed woman driving an extra-large SUV while talking on a cell phone and yelling at the kids in the backseat to be quiet. Odds 4 to 1

1 votes for #3. Kenny, the National Wine and Spirits delivery driver, fatigued after carrying 35 cases of wine down the stairs at Grapevine Cottage, backs into it. Odds 3 to 1

10 votes for #4. A 2:00 a.m. Friendly Tavern patron trying to find his way out of the village in a pickup truck. Odds 2 to 1

22 votes for # 5. Four elderly ladies in a large Buick going around the block for the fifth time after 4 failed parallel parking attempts. Odds Even

7 other disaster scenarios

4 with dimpled chads

One comment about my attitude from Jessica M.
Wine guy...I think the tree will be toothpicks December 22 at 2:00 pm...
Don't you think you were a little harsh on women in your options??? Did my chauvinistic father help you with those options?


A canine scenario from Jill Ditmire of Channel 20's "The Good Life"
All I want for Christmas is a bottle of that delicious Bruno Palliard...and I am hoping that even though I will be a bad girl you will still deliver on the Cabernet.

My guess for the tree to toothpicks contest...Wednesday November 22, 2000, 2:02 am...a bubbly lover puts palate before practicality and employs her two energetic young dogs, Guinness and Harp, in her scheme to down the tree so she can down the vino. She convinces both that the tree is giant Milkbone treat and in a matter of moments, the two successfully bring that baby down, and then chew happily as the sparkling fan warms the getaway car. For police records, anything after two am can be blamed on Friendly customers, or highschoolers anticipating the holiday break.


Some reminiscences from Inez M.
Friday, December 1st, in the P.M.(after dark), intentionally, by bored Zionsville High School teenagers desperately seeking entertainment in their hometown. (What could be more fun than drinking a few beers with your miscreant buddies while cruising around town after dark in a car your parents bought you, looking for mischief and diversion to present itself in the form of a lit Christmas tree in the middle of the road just waiting to be knocked over?!) Hey, wait a minute here, I think I'm writing my memoirs.......

Tom P. offers a humorous alternative
I think the tree will be toothpicks on Dec. 24th at 3:30 pm, a victim of the UPS man attempting to avoid the four elderly ladies in the Buick as they back up toward another obviously doomed parking attempt. (The teenager with the booming stereo swerved in to take the space they were originally aiming for!)

A true life adventure from Brian H.
The condemned Xmas tree is going to meet its maker on December the 9th at 3 in the afternoon. Its end will be brought on by the well-coiffed driver of the extra large SUV. Last time I was in town to pick up my wine order, she almost got me. Sadly, the poor tree will not be able to dive under the nearest parked car as I had to do. Unsuspecting pine tree + a few tons of unsupervised steel and plastic = toothpicks for all.

Excerpts from a note from the "Tennessee Ashleys"
I think the tree will be toothpicks as soon as we can get there. I have a Ford Expedition and the cell phone. And of course everyone from Sharps Chapel, Tennessee is well-coiffed. (we just can't spell it or think its a way to order your steak at the diner.) If I can't come up with noisy kids for the backseat, I'll recruit a few of the locals with their chainsaws. Some people will do anything for Bruno Palliard Brut Premier. We assume you will deliver! (Remember, it's left turn at Bug-tussel!) We'll leave the light on for you!

And finally... from Julie K.
I predict the tree will make it through unscathed. What are your odds on that?

Thanks to everyone for their interest and comments. We'll keep you posted on the tree's condition as the month progresses.