Christmas Tree Warriors
The Quebecians arrive right after Thanksgiving and settle in for thirty days. They are New York Christmas tree vendors who have staked a spot on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for the past three years. They live in a van, parked on the sidewalk alongside their stanchion of trees. They construct an attached lean-to with two by fours and plastic sheeting, a shelter for keeping records and tools of the trade.
Their symbol, an overhead high-flying pink pig, illuminated at night with tiny dots of light, accompanies them. The work is back-breaking hard. The trees are heavy, the ominous looking baler is tricky to manipulate, and the temperature can be wet and bone chilling. The days are long, the nights too, with someone always on guard to watch the trees and decorations. Their relationship is a loving one and they work well together greeting the neighborhood crowd with smiles and good cheer. For the month, they give their all as a Canadian company deposits the trees in the wee hours of the night and they compete with other sidewalk sellers throughout the city to sell the firs at a profit.