As western Loudoun residents Bill Bosley, Joe Marker and Mike Breeden finish out the year, they know that, once more, they have gladdened the hearts of countless Rt. 7 commuters.
They’re the crew behind the 43-year tradition hanging of Christmas decorations on an evergreen tree that stood in the median of the highway just west of Leesburg. That tree was removed earlier this year as part of the Rt. 7 widening project, but a replacement was planting specifically to keep the holiday cheer alive.
Last spring, commuters were saddened when crews cut down the fir tree. The Shirley Construction crews said the tree was too diseased and damaged from fumes and the impacts of the increasing traffic on the highway to be saved.
The new 14-foot Norway Spruce, located at the West Market Street exit from eastbound Rt. 7, was covered with ornaments and red, white and blue bows earlier this month—appearing with much of the same mystery that surrounded the original tree.
For years, various theories surfaced as to who was responsible for the decorations, but it was not until last spring that Bosley, Marker and Breeden confirmed they were responsible. “It was our gift to the community,” Bosley said.
The fallen tree lay somewhat forlornly in the median for a while before the three men, Bosley, 73, Marker, 76, and Breeden, 59, came to the site to ask Virginia Department of Transportation representatives if they could have sections of the tree as keepsakes. It was at that point that the three agreed to reveal their story to the public.
It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the three Christmas elves would return this year to undertake their annual community treat, although, when asked, Bosley coyly said, “Maybe, call me sometime after Thanksgiving.”
He takes up the tale. “I called the others, and within 24 hours, the answer was ‘Oh yes.’
“We just showed up and it was done between the seventh and the 14th [of December],” he said. This time, Marker came up with a couple of new ideas, including decorating the tree with red, white and blue bows, since most of their decorations wouldn’t work with the much smaller tree.
Even though the decorators no longer have to get stepladders and a cherry picker, they’re pleased with the tree’s new location.
“It’s a very, very nice setting,” Bosley said.
The decorations will be gone by Friday. “We never let them stay up until the New Year,” Bosley said, adding their philosophy is “it comes—and it goes.”
And they all get a kick out of the enterprise.
“This has been a grin all these years. Three old geezers putting up a Christmas tree and to laugh about it. It’s been an enjoyable task,” Bosley said.
That’s a statement their fans are likely to endorse heartily.