Miracle at Delancey Street

By Jean-Marie Saporito

December 17, 2018

Miracle at Delancey Street

My drive to the Delancey Street Christmas Tree lot begins on snowy roads through a canyon hemmed by pinion and sage studded cliffs and the icy Rio Grande. I then pass several adobe towns and Native Pueblos on this seventy-five-mile drive.

There are more efficient ways to get a tree. But I like Delancey Street, a long term rehab for those who’ve hit bottom. The newer residents are assigned to work the lots.

The day is frigid. By the time I walk the aisles of noble firs and pines, the sun sets low and is blinding. The men bounce on the toes of worn work boots, eager to help.

His eyes are clear and unlike many, he seems to have all his teeth. With patience for the bourgeois woman I’ve become, he spins several trees. He saws the trunk of my pick, hammers the base, and heaves the tree on top of my SUV.

“Tie it tight. I don’t want an accident,” I say.

He loops the blue twine around the tree’s trunk, then knots it to metal hooks. I wonder what sort of bottom he’s hit, drugs or jail, but I don’t ask.

Instead I say, “I’m in recovery, too. Thirty years clean.”

“Thirty years? I have ten months.” We lock eyes and smile.

Headed back to Taos, violet and green ribbon across the horizon. I glance at the quivering tree to check for a slip.

Every year I take this drive and we haven’t lost a tree yet.

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