Strange But True Stories in Fort Payne, AL: My Christmas Tree Reappeared in My Driveway Yesterday; A Month and a Half after I Threw It to the Curb

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, you’re kinda freaking me out.

Like most responsible people, around January 3rd I took my live Christmas tree out to the driveway where the trash is picked up.  Strangely, it was gone within a couple of hours, though the garbage men didn’t come that day.  Then yesterday afternoon as we were pulling out of the driveway, my wife shouted, “Hey!  Is that our Christmas tree in our driveway next to the mailbox?”  She was right.  And even as I write this, it remains in the driveway next to the mailbox.  At this point, I’m curious to see if it magically disappears again.

How can I be positive that it indeed is the same Christmas tree that was in our house?  Fortunately, I have well documented the process of getting the tree in this “dad from day one” post.  You can clearly see it is the same shape; and also, the way the very top of the tree is sort of broken off makes it obvious this is the same tree.  I highly encourage you to click that link above if you haven’t already, just to compare the pictures.

One of the weirdest parts of the story is that both when the tree disappeared, then reappeared, it was in broad daylight in normal weather.

So what are some possible explanations?  Here’s the best I can do:

1) The wind blew it out of sight for several weeks.  Then the wind coincidentally blew it right back in our driveway.  The thing is, this tree is solid enough that it would take a severe thunderstorm/small tornado to lift it off the ground- both times.  There has been snow, but definitely no strong enough winds to move the tree twice.

2)  Someone is playing a prank.  A person who has too much time on their hands during the daytime came in a pickup truck and deliberately did this.  As far as I am aware, I don’t know of any person who fits that description.

3)  A wild animal did it.  No dog would be strong enough to drag the tree away.  Unless it was Bigfoot.

I firmly believe that I will never know how this happened.  Forever a mystery.

The Sussudio Effect: Why We Secretly Love the Mysteries of Life

Whether we will admit it or not, we like unexplained mysteries.

Do we really need an answer for everything?  Isn’t omniscience (the ability to know everything infinitely) a trait we reserve for God?  Could we handle the responsibility of having all the answers?  We like to think we want all the answers, but if we did, that would be a life without surprise, suspense, and ultimately, much excitement.

Much of the mystique we deal with revolves around our origin, purpose, and ending.  But even without all the big idea concepts like “why am I here?” and “what exactly happens the moment I die?,” both of which the element of ignorance is attached to, life is still full plenty of petty mysteries to think about.  Which at best, simply reflect the fact that mystery is a part of life.

Like the song “Sussidio” by Phil Collins.  It became a number one hit in July of 1985.  And though I wasn’t quite in pre-school yet at that point, the song has definitely kept a solid spot in the Soundtrack of My Life.  I can’t say that I like the saxophone-enhanced song just because of its feel-good vibes and groovy melody.  A big part of why I like the song is because of its quirkiness.  Because let’s face it, no one really knows what a “sussudio” is.

In recent years, thanks to Phil Collins’ interviews that have surfaced and have been referenced in Wikipedia, I have learned that Phil always did a lot of ad-lib and improvising in the studio.  He often would record the music to the song before he wrote the words, just making up random words and phrases to hold the place; then coming back later to replace the gibberish with actual lyrics.

“Sussudio” was a place-holding made-up word that he never came up with a replacement for.  And so it remained.  The word still doesn’t mean anything.  It’s not the name of a girl, as some have assumed.  It’s just a mysterious word.  You get to decide what it means.  Weird concept, but after all, the song did make it to the number one spot.

Why?  It’s a great catchy song.  And it’s mysterious.

I will deliberately bypass the way-too-obvious fact that LOST’s popularity is associated with its strategic and clever uses of mystique (LOST- Answering Questions that Were Left Unanswered) and instead close with the fact that we can spend a lifetime just unveiling the mysteries of the people closest to us in our lives.

It’s not like we sit down with our parents or spouses or best friends and interview them with a #2 pencil and steno pad about their childhood and see what we can learn about them that we didn’t know before.  Instead, we just wait for those random trigger words to show up in conversation, which prompt a story that we’ve never heard before about them before.

Sometimes when my wife and I are out at a restaurant, we (being “people watchers”) will notice an older couple sitting in silence, only really speaking to say predictable things like “How’s your steak?”  We want to be cooler than that when we’re older; we want to have cool stuff to talk about, even now.

There are so many hidden stories in each of us.  We can only try, in a lifetime, to extract them from each other.  Not that they all can be told even in one lifetime, we ourselves can’t remember them all.  Because unlike God, we mysteriously ended up without an omniscient memory.