Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Christmas still glows bright in the Baker home as the prospects of a comic con lend a happy glow

Coming home in the evening, with the darkness descending all around me, it's a warming feeling to walk through the door and plug our Christmas tree in for the evening.

Oh, what's that? You don't think you heard me right? Why yes, you did. It's the middle of February and we still have our Christmas tree up, lights on, fire hazard noted.

I don't know what it is about this particular tree in this particular year, but the Hawaiian princess in my home simply adores it. There's a quirky, Charlie Brown-esque quality to this year's tree and she simply doesn't want it taken down.

Every year for about 20 years (save one year where we went off the rails) we've gone to the same tree farm out south of Silverton near Sublimity for our Christmas tree acquisition. It's gone through a few folks, but every year they chainsaw that sucker down for me and offer cookies, hot chocolate and warm cider for the visitors.

Editor John Baker.

I find it wonderfully Christmasy and they sell Nobles, which we like.

Here's the deal. The wife and I are unabashed Christmas tree ornament hounds. We're always snagging them from odd places and each year make a pilgrimage down to the Christmas store near Lincoln City for a special "family" ornament. Got to get the kids represented (and one son-in-law).

We love our ornaments and Nobles are best suited to let our many baubles hang and shine next to the lights (always white lights, mind you).

This year's tree has, apparently, worked its way into the pantheon of great trees at our house, standing proudly beside the trees of 1991, 1998, 2006 and 2012. Christmas tree 2018, may be the class of the field in our home.

Here's the funny part, it's actually the middle section of a very tall tree.

Coming to the same tree farm each year for so long, obviously the little guys have grown and become big guys. And this year, they were, you know, big.

So what we did was choose a middle section of a tree we liked and had them cut it down at the base we wanted, then took some off the top to form our tree.

When the initial falling of the tree occurred, however, the tree fell and it turns out a branch or two was broken.

Not to be dissuaded, the Hawaiian princess simply used wire and colored duct tape to repair the break and offer this wise advice, "Nothing heavy on this branch." And so, that's the tale of a Christmas tree that simply won't be put out of service.

There are great open spaces within the tree and plenty of dangling ornaments to delight our addiction. As I sat there last night, wondering why in the world we'd leave our tree up for so long, it dawned on me that I, too, love this tree and the way it looks. And, despite the mid-February time table, I really liked the way it continues to look.

The goal has been to keep it up until my wife's birthday, which will have arrived by the time you read this narrative of our Christmas tree obsession. However, I wonder if we'll have that moment where we simply look at each other and decide "let's go to next weekend."

So there you have it, like the mayor of Whoville, Christmas apparently doesn't come once a year in our house, either. We're willing to give it a couple more months just because we can – and we love it. Merry February, everyone.

Wizard World anyone?

Fortunately, February is also the month where I not only still get to enjoy my tree, but also indulge in another little secret delight - comic cons.

Wizard World Comic Con is touching down in Portland Feb. 22-24 and I'll be there amidst the cosplayers, vendors, artists, authors and celebrities that inhabit its midst.

It has been an interesting transition for me over these five-plus decades. My sister and I collected comic books (Conan, Archie, Arak, to name a few) and I was an avid sports card collector (still got them) as well.

But you know how it goes, life moves on and so did I - to college, to family, to a million other things that pushed that hobby to the back for a long, long time.

However, as my kids started to leave the house and a hobby was needded, the circle started to get completed. My sister and I had always kind of kidded each other about attending a comic con and in 2013 we pulled the trigger -- attending the first Wizard World Comic Con in Portland.

Needless to say, it re-rang the bell for both us and now we're devoted to the nerd and geek cause, attending comic cons throughout the year. But there's a special place in our heart for Wizard World as it's the one that reawakened the Kraken in our nerdy souls.

What's important to know here is that comic con doesn't stand for simply comic books. There's a whole world involved in those two words, a world that's fun, accepting, inviting and filled with art, literature, games, photos, and a hundred little niches between those. I find comic cons to be a creators paradise involving a mass of people who are all happy you're there.

If any of you are attending this year's Wizard World Comic Con in Portland, I'd love to know about it. And I'll see you there.

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