After reaching the border of the park, they drove into the forest with Mr. Martin showing the way.
In the forest was a small road that could narrowly accommodate a car. There was a signboard erected at the entrance of the road, which wrote: "Christmas tree logging area."
Mr. Martin motioned for Li Du to slow down. "Drive slowly. I'm farsighted. Let me look in detail and find the most beautiful Christmas tree. As you're celebrating Christmas with us this year, I can't possibly do a slipshod work like last time."
Li Du smiled. "You've done slipshod work in the past?"
Mr. Martin shrugged. "Of course. I did careless work because Sophie didn't bring me a son-in-law." He started smiling. "No, I wasn't messing with her. I was silently protesting."
There was a question that Li Du had kept buried at the bottom of his heart. As both of them were alone at this point in time, he could not help but ask, "Thomas, ever since I came to America, I have suffered a lot of discrimination . . . "
Mr. Martin patted him on his shoulder. "Don't care about what those idiots think," he comforted, "they are too stupid."
Li Du responded, "That's not important. I don't care what they think. However, discrimination does exist and they were unwilling to be friends with me. Despite that, I feel that you and your wife treat me very well? When it comes to my relationship with Sophie, you guys are more than happy for us? Truth be told, I am a little overwhelmed by the love you guys have shown me."
When Li Du had first arrived in America, he would receive warnings at gatherings with Chinese schoolmates that he should avoid being interested in Caucasian and African American women at all costs. Even if they were willing to accept him, their parents would not be willing to.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin were the exact opposite. Since the first time they had seen him and Sophie together, both of them had a positive attitude toward the relationship. This kind of unusual situation made him doubtful.
Hearing this, Mr. Martin smiled. "So, this is what's on your mind? What's so strange about it? You're a good fella. Both my wife and I think that you're a good fella. With this, and Sophie being fond of you as well, why wouldn't we be happy for you guys?"
Li Du smiled. "Thank you for the praise and support."
Mr. Martin waved his hand and said, "Truth be told, my wife and I made our position clear when Sophie started middle school. So long as she's willing to go on dates and find a good fella, we will support her.
"However, as you know, kid, the private lives of the teenagers here are very messy. In order to prevent Sophie from being hurt, we have brought her to church since she was young so she would listen to the teachings of the Lord and so He would discipline her.
"In the end, Sophie, this child, was too devoted. She obeyed the orders of God and abstained from sex before adulthood. She didn't interact much with people of the opposite sex and even went as far as not going on dates with guys!"
Speaking of this, besides only waving his hand, Mr. Martin also began shaking his head. "Can you imagine she did not date any guy until she graduated from university? For a time, her mother and I suspected that she might not be interested in men."
Li Du could not help but laugh. "Isn't that a little excessive?"
Mr. Martin shook his head seriously. "No, no, no, it was not at all excessive. For a very long period of time, we were really worried that she would choose to be with some lady. Until you appeared . . . "
He stopped, patted Li Du on his shoulder, and said, "Do you see why we are so supportive of you guys? It's because we were worried that she would not fall in love with any man."
Hearing his words, Li Du could not help but smile. Indeed, parents would always be worried about their children.
After wandering around the edge of the forest, Mr. Martin found a small fir tree. He beckoned, "Come, young fella, this is the perfect Christmas tree we've been looking for."
Both fir and pine looked alike and were perfect choices for a Christmas tree.
Despite that, it was harder to find a fir than a pine for a Christmas tree. As firs were able to grow very tall, up to a maximum of 390 feet, a single person would not be able to carry it alone.
Since they grew very quickly and were able to grow to enormous sizes, by the time people were able to find them, the trees would have, more often than not, grew past the suitable height for being a Christmas tree.
Having found a Christmas tree, Li Du brought down the ax that he had been carrying on his shoulders. After finding a spot to chop, he said, "Thomas, stand back and watch me chop it down."
Mr. Martin smiled. "Don't be anxiousis this your first time chopping a tree? I have to teach you some tricks then."
"Isn't it just finding a side that is facing an empty area and chopping the tree down?" Li Du asked.
"It's not that simple," Mr. Martin replied. "Alright, it's actually that simple. However, I've been looking forward to the day where I get to teach my child how to chop a Christmas tree, just like how my old pops taught me, so you have to let me teach you."
American parents did not prefer sons over daughters. In truth, this statement was somewhat incorrect. Most American parents were very fond of their own children, which was unrelated to gender. However, for both men and women, they all hoped to have a child that was the same gender as them.
In other words, fathers loved to have sons while mothers loved to have daughters. They would pass on some of their dreams and experiences to their children.
This point was exceptionally evident in the southwest region of America. Many cowboys were fond of raising sons. If they gave birth to daughters, they would also, before their daughters reached adulthood, raise them like how they would raise sons.
Mr. Martin took the ax and said, "Using an ax to chop trees is much harder than using an electric saw. Nowadays, many people choose to use electric saws. However, it neither has the joy of chopping trees nor the spirit of Christmas."
Li Du nodded. "I agree. We should respect tradition."
He was being respectful to his future father-in-law.
This type of remark was very pleasing to Mr. Martin's ears. Mr. Martin smiled. "Absolutely right. Come, when you want to chop a tree, you have to first, like what you said earlier, find a side that has an empty space.
"After finding it, firstly chop twice at its front while tilting the ax toward the top and the bottom. Afterward, draw a horizontal line on the opposite side. The horizontal line is your target. Lastly, forcefully chop the horizontal line."
Besides explaining one time to Li Du, he also personally demonstrated once before handing the ax over to him.
With the little bug strengthening his body and stamina, Li Du could be referred to as a beast in human form. His body contained a frightening amount of energy.
He swung the ax and impacted the tree a few times, which produced a bang sound. Very soon, the fir tree gave off a crackling sound that gave both men a sharp sensation in their teeth. The tree was promptly chopped down.
Mr. Martin was dumbfounded, "You are very strong. I was ready to teach you some tricks on being more powerful later on."
Li Du once again demonstrated his strength and explosiveness when dragging the fir tree. He walked very quickly with the fir tree all by himself.
In truth, he was not alone. Ah Meow, Ah Ow, and Crispy Noodles were hard at work helping to push the fir tree from behind.
After bringing the Christmas tree home, Sophie made hot coffee for them and they were able to rest. Sophie and her mother straightened out the fir tree and hung colored lights and ribbons on it.
All that was left was waiting for the Christmas Eve feast at night. In the southwest region of America, everyone treated the Christmas Eve feast as the most important dinner of the year and the whole family would gather to have a feast together, which was a little similar to New Year's Eve in China.
Christmas, just like Chinese New Year, was the most important festival. However, there were not any more feasts during Christmas, or at the very least, they weren't as grand as the Christmas Eve feast.