"We had become part of their family," Pam said.
Added Jack, "They became part of ours, once a year."
Larry and Merrily Nilles, along with grandchildren Zakk and Dana Nilles, were regulars there for at least 10 years. It was tradition for Grandpa to cut down the tree. Zakk got the honor for the first time this year, before they learned the farm was closing.
"We are going to miss this wonderful place," Merrily said. "We can only hope that this simple tradition has been etched into our grandchildren's hearts and makes their top 10 list of things to do at Christmas - besides shop."
Jenn Prevatt Hopkins noted on the Flyer's Facebook page that her husband always insisted on walking to the end of the farm's property line in search of the perfect tree - regardless of weather. They always seemed to find their tree at the front of the farm, where they started.
"Kind of a joke in the family now," Hopkins wrote.
Others reminisced about drinking hot cocoa in the farm's gift shop, visiting with Santa, and partaking of the candy cane tree. Pets were a common sight at the farm too. There was a Great Dane that weighed well over 200 pounds and stood almost as tall as Pam. There was the Blue Healer that Pam fed a hot dog the first time it visited, and which insisted on receiving the same on each subsequent sojourn.
Jack marvels at how Christmas tree shopping is one of those few activities that brings out the whole family. After almost 30 years, they had three generations visiting their farm.
"Anytime you can get everybody together, that's something," he said.
Traits like that are what made their business worthwhile to the Nelsons. Because the work wasn't easy.