Paulding couple's tree headed to Macy's

In 1983, Ricky and Nancy Williams bought a 5-foot white pine to celebrate the first Christmas in their new home. After the holidays, the tree itself got a new home.

"I dug a hole and stuck it in there and just left it," Ricky Williams said.

Now, the tree is headed for Buckhead. Thursday morning, the 65-foot tree was cut down.  The Williams' tree  will be a part of a holiday tradition in Atlanta -- it will be lit and stand atop the Macy's at Lenox Square.

"I used to tell everyone we were the house where the big Christmas tree is, but I can't do that anymore," Williams said.

The tree, located in the Southfork neighborhood near Dallas, was the back-up tree for the 2008 holiday season, Williams said. The family  joked over the years that the tree would be perfect for the iconic Macy's tree, and last year, a representative from the shopping center knocked on the door.

Letting the tree grow for another year in his yard was just fine with Williams. His first grandchild was born in March, so the family started calling it "Tyler's Tree" in anticipation.

Now, the family is hoping Tyler will be healthy enough to attend the tree lighting on Thanksgiving night, Williams said. The infant has been spent several weeks at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where doctors have been treating him for kidney and blood disorders.

"They really don't have a name or cause of his issues," Williams said.

A week ago, Tyler's prognosis wasn't very good. But as the tree was coming down Thursday, Williams got word from his daughter that Tyler is showing signs of improvement.

"He's been laughing more the past few days," Williams said.

A heart-shaped stump is left where the huge tree once stood. Williams said he's thrilled that so many people will be able to enjoy the tree in the upcoming weeks.

"We're going to miss it," Williams said of the tree. "But we're tickled what it's going for."