One Quay County family is working to keep a holiday tradition alive by selling fresh Christmas trees.
Christy Preciado, her husband, Mark, and their two sons, Mark, Jr. and Johnathon, are selling pine trees from the front yard lot of their home on Highway 104.
“My father Agustin (Maes) sold Christmas trees from his house (on High Street) for 35 years. He was known to many as the ‘Christmas Tree Man,'” Christy Preciado said.
“When he passed away this year, many people were asking us and wondering where they were going to get their tree from this year.”
Deciding to carry on her father’s tradition, Christy Preciado and her family gathered trees from a ranch in Quay County and began to sell them at their home.
She said she has met many people who got their trees from her father.
Many share their stories. One woman told her that she and her husband bought their first tree as a couple from him, and had bought one from him every year since – for 32 years.
Maes two grandchildren helped him for six years cutting down, collecting and selling the trees. They also have their memories.
Mark, Jr., 12, said, “We would always go out with him and help drag the trees to the truck. Last year, I fell off the stack of trees when I was riding on top of the trees so they would not fly out of the trailer.”
“It was a lot of fun,” said Johnathon. 11. “We helped grandpa and chased each other around with sticks and branches. Those are some very special memories that we will always have of my grandpa.”
“I will always remember going ‘tree hunting’ as he called it,” Christy Preciado said. “He wore the same holey blue coveralls, I don’t know how he kept warm.”
Maes first brought 20 pine trees from his ranch near Trementina to sell in Tucumcari for some extra holiday cash more than three decades ago.
“He wanted the kids to have a good Christmas so he took the trees to town to sell,” said his wife Dora Maes. “Who would have thought that 20 trees would turn into an annual event.”
“For 35 years Agustin sold trees at our home on High Street,” Dora Maes said. “He knew his customers and their likes by heart.”