PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — After filling their bellies with turkey, ham and mashed potatoes, many people spent the day after Thanksgiving searching for the perfect Christmas tree.
What’s just a fun family tradition for most, is a lifeline for the owners of one tree farm in Placerville this year.
For more than 60 years, June and Rex Smith have owned and lived on Smith Family Farm, raising their children and running their business together. But the Smiths sell more than the obvious. People come here for the trees, but also joy, built over decades by a passionate couple.
“The people are just like family coming back, so faithful every year,” Mrs. Smith said.
The Smiths built this farm from the ground up, but this year, things are different.
Rex is in the hospital with pneumonia after battling ALS for two years. June describes her husband as an extremely hard worker and always active. She’s been providing all his care as his health declined. This, amid her own health struggles — June is disabled and has trouble walking.
“So hard for me to leave him in the hands of somebody else to take care of him,” Mrs. Smith said.
A dynamic duo in their 80s has been separated during their favorite time of the year
“It’s tearing me apart,” Mrs. Smith said. “We’ve been married 61 years.”
But a community who loves them is keeping the farm open at a time when the Smiths can’t.
“We have some customers who have a fake tree now but they’re still going to get a tree, for the Smiths,” said Kama Alexander, who is volunteering her time.
Alexander’s son is the Smiths’ handyman. Alexander put out a call to the community to come get their trees at the Smith Family Farm this year.
“They’ve gotten older and had health problems but they still have that same spirit,” Sharon Doyle said.
Doyle has brought her family her for twenty years. Her granddaughter Molly was beaming with joy during their visit on Friday afternoon.
“We wanted to find a red spruce and we thought this one was perfect,” Molly said while smiling after finding a tree at the farm.
This family thanks the Smiths for that smile.
Mrs. Smith herself can no longer venture down the hill to say hello. But the thought of the family’s and other visiting customers’ joy keeps herself and her beloved husband going, and their business too.
“We sit down at night and think, well we sold 25 Christmas trees today. we’re going to be thought about in 25 homes tonight,” Mrs. Smith said.