Thank you for sharing this story with us! As usual, I learned a number of things as I was drawn into your story, and read to the very end. I was SO glad to get to the end and learn that your brother still lives, in the middle of your beloved mountains.
Brothers are very special. I grew up on 8 acres in the country, and shared many adventures with my 3 brothers. We did cut our tree in our woods; and one year I was carrying the little hatchet, and cut my finger. My father still lives on that property, 56 years later, and it is a special treat to occasionally spend time there with he and my brothers and our families.
And I'm thinking - maybe we should decorate our tree next year with gingerbread!