By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times
Howard Pepper has been selling Christmas trees since he was nine years old, and in his 72nd year, he is still as jolly as ever.
The Cullman resident has camped out his Christmas tree lot next to Bill Smith GMC in Cullman and with his 53-year-old son Tim Pepper. Although the business has been a little slow this Christmas season, their enjoyment hasn’t slowed down a bit.
“It’s not about the money, I like seeing the families come here year after year and getting their Christmas trees. I’ve always gotten a kick out of that, I reckon,” Howard said. “It’s an old family tradition that we’re just carrying on. We’re the only ones doing it now. We take on several trucks loads of trees every year.”
Pepper said he sold Christmas trees in Birmingham with his brother, now deceased, for 50 years. He then moved to Cullman and has been selling them with his son locally for over two decades.
“We’re blessed to be in our 22nd year in Cullman selling to some great customers each year,” Howard said. “We’ve been doing it all of our life. I raised seven kids with my wife and we’ve enjoyed this family tradition.”
Pepper said he lost his wife, Annie, 27 years ago to colon cancer after a long-fought battle.
“She had cancer for a long time. She was told she was only going to live a few months and she lived over two years,” Howard said. “She passed away when my youngest boy was 17 and really our family has just enjoyed selling the Christmas trees.”
Tim Pepper faced a traumatic situation two years ago and that left him with brain damage and a new appreciation for life.
“I spent 28 days in ICU after wrecking my motorcycle in Cullman,” Tim said. “I had severe head trauma and it’s a wonder I didn’t die. I ran my own painting business before then, but can’t do too much now. I stay pretty busy with this. I still really enjoy it all.”
The Peppers’ said they usually start off with about 100 Christmas trees, in different sizes and their prices range from $40-$100.
Lauren Estes can be reached at email@example.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.