One little red tree sits individually lit up in a yard overlooking North Twin Lake. Neighbors and winter sports enthusiasts on the lake probably figure the shiney red décor must be paying homage to the local Warrior sports teams or perhaps to celebrate the color of Amery’s Community Club. Both answers would be wrong. “The lights were on clearance,” said Al Schock.
Schock and his wife Lou Ann, have been decorating what is widely known in town as “The Little Red Tree” for over 30 years. The Schocks explained it was originally put up after they saw the display at Flag Pole Park. Al figured he could do something along the same lines. They said it also celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It has continued to do so for many years and has become a tradition appreciated by many.
The tree constructed from four divided strands may look simple, but it is strong in holiday blessings it is offering to the eyes that gaze towards it. Many residents remark to the Schocks how much they enjoy the seasonal lawn ornament.
The Schocks said the tree takes about two hours to put up on a good day. Al tries his best to get it put together before the ground freezes. One year he procrastinated a bit and others noticed. “People started calling the house and asking why the tree wasn’t up,” he said. That year it certainly took more than two hours as he pounded stakes into a cold and hard ground.
Lou Ann pinched hit for her husband one year while he was on the mend. She made sure to get the little red tree up before community members were able to miss it.
Across the lake, long-time Amery resident Pat Canham, once even wrote a poem about the tree in November 2016:
The little red tree
There’s a little red tree
Across the lake from me,
It appears every November
At least that’s as I remember
Inn the dark of night I know I’m alive
When the red lights twinkle everynight, at five
As in my kitchen I go to and fro
I see red till nine from my window
Turkey and Stuffing have both flown away
As little red tree prepares for its day
It stands as a sentinel all thru December
South Shore of North Twin, a burning ember
The cold winds continue to blow
One little red tree puts up with the snow
It lights the night for the Christ child’s birth
And guides Rudolph and Santa through all their mirth
The nights are numbered for the little red tree
Tears from the people Al, especially me
On into a New Year we go with such glee
Hoping and knowing we’ll continue to see
Another November with a little red tree
Al and Lou Ann always have a busy holiday season. They have three grown children and a handful of grandchildren. Each year they get through the hustle and bustle of this time of year, always remembering the reason for the season when they glance out at the tree glowing towards the lake and hoping others find the time to take a moment to do the same.
The day after New Years, the Schocks stop lighting their tree. When a warm day comes along, they take down the lights until the following November when friends, neighbors and passers-by will be anxiously awaiting the annual lighting of the uncomplicated and comforting little red tree.