Larry “Mater” Rymer’s yard was abuzz Thursday in preparation for the cutting of his 60-foot tall white pine, recently chosen as this year’s Christmas tree by Macy’s at Lenox Square in Atlanta.
Next door, neighbor Franklin Ledford’s front yard was filled with a flatbed tractor-trailer and the cutting crew from Superior Rigging out of Atlanta. The tree was chosen for Macy’s by Entertainment Design Group, and will be placed on top of the Lenox Square store.
Because of the location of the fence around Rymer’s home, the tree was more accessible from the neighbor’s yard. However, this occasion almost never happened.
Kathy Rymer, Larry’s wife, said she had wanted to cut down the tree five years ago, but Larry said he wanted to keep it.
Little did they know someone else was watching their tree. Steve Guy of Entertainment Design Group had seen the tree 12 years before while driving on Highway 411, but waited until the right year to have his company approach the family. His father Wilbur Guy originally approached the family about selling their tree to Macy’s. Both Steve and Wilbur travel the highway frequently in trips to their cabin in Pigeon Forge.
Larry said he was excited about the tree being cut, and proud that his had been chosen.
Both Rymers commented that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
According to Kathy, this will be the straightest tree Macy’s has had in the past 29 years.
“This is one of the prettiest, fullest trees that we’ve had in a long time,” Wilbur said.
A crew had come out Wednesday to prep the tree for cutting by tying up the branches. Getting to the tree took a little longer than the crew originally thought and cutting began around 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. on Thursday.
“We set a time and hopefully we can live up to it,” Wilbur said, commenting that attaching all the necessary cables to lift the tree takes a while.
If the cables are not properly attached, the tree can crack. Workers climbed up the tree and into the secured branches to attach some of the necessary cables. Wilbur said the crew had been doing this for 20 to 30 years, and knew what they were doing.
The tree will be put in place and decorated on Sunday. The Rymers are planning on going to Atlanta to see the lighting of the tree on Thanksgiving night.
“They said it will not look like the same tree when we come to see it,” Kathy said. Wilbur said the lighting is a big event featuring special guests and fireworks. Wilbur has invited Larry’s children and grandchildren to accompany him and his wife on the trip.
“It’s going to be something exciting,” Kathy said of going to Atlanta to see the lighting.