Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.
And, yes, that’s the same New Years’s picture I used for both ’06 and ’07. Call it a tradition.
I’ll be back sometime after the 1st.
I remember my dad reading A Christmas Carol to us as kids. Everyone knows the story, of course, but even knowing how it all goes, I still found myself wondering about old Scrooge and his journey of midnight horror that leads him to warm redemption and the blessings of Tiny Tim.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been slogging through Dickens’s final work, Our Mutual Friend, as part of my on-going Lost reading project, but when I was filling in for a fellow teacher last week, I noticed a few copies of A Christmas Carol in her room. I started reading it over lunch and found myself drawn in. I finished it over a few lunch breaks and loved every word of it.
Who knew that Dickens could provide such a great respite from Dickens? There’s a special pleasure it rereading those books we knew as kids, in making new sense of the familiar and discovering those things we weren’t then equipped or inclined to see.
It was a great way to start the Christmas season. A tradition, perhaps?
And, here’s the tree…
This year we ran out of time so our tree is decorated only with white LED lights. At first I wasn’t sure, but I kind of like the simplicity of it. Besides, what could be greener than white LEDs?
For Christmas, three pups in one post each enjoying their vacation.
Joey checks out the kitchen, looking for easy openings…
Phoebe looking good on a red couch…
And, Daphne in a ball, doing what she does best…
Want to make a fast friend by saving a greyhound in Central Texas? Check these pups out. Or go here to find a greyhound near you. You can also go here to find out why greyhounds are running for their lives.
If you have dogs who need proven leadership, go here to find a cat.
Last year’s Christmas posts about the various holiday traditions still stand whether it’s decorations, Christmas music, movies and TV, or food and drink. We even packed up the pups again and drove to Orange for a few days with my in-laws, though we’ll be back in Austin tomorrow for Christmas with my family.
Perhaps I’ll post a picture of this year’s tree, which relies on a far different decorating strategy than last year, though it’s still the same artificial tree.
Until then, the tale of how I learned that Santa was really my parents…
One day in the mid-70’s, seemingly months before Christmas, but possibly only a few days I snuck into my parents’ closet looking for a place to hide from whichever kid had been designated as ‘It.’ I crawled across piles of shoes and boxes and as I neared the back, I discovered some paper bags.
‘It’ was getting closer and things were happening fast, but I noticed a Wonder Woman action figure in one of the paper bags. I thought it odd that my parents had a Wonder Woman action figure, but I wasn’t going to lose a game of hide-and-seek worrying about it.
I forgot about the whole thing until Christmas morning when I saw that Santa had brought a Wonder Woman action figure to my little sister. Odd, I thought, but I filed it away until I could investigate further.
Days must have passed in which I tried to avoid the truth, but eventually I had to know. I entered the closet and snuck to the back. Naturally, there was nothing but open space. No paper bags. No Wonder Woman. No more Santa.
When I brought this up to my parents, they let me join the conspiracy and asked me not to tell my younger siblings. It only took a few minutes after that to figure out the truth about the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and the Great Pumpkin.
On Saturday we went to Gruene, did a little Christmas shoppin’, some food eatin’ and, yes, even a bit of beer drinkin’.
It’s about the same down there every year, but then some samenesses are pretty refreshing, whether it’s lunch at The Gristmill or listening to some band I’ve never heard play in Gruene Hall while we put off the drive back up to Austin.
I enjoy walking off lunch and wandering through the old junk stores along the main strip, but my favorite is Gruene Hall. There’s something about sitting around in these old Hill Country beer joints forgetting about the world and everything in it.
Most years the trip to Gruene is when December starts to feel like Christmas.
The suspense is over. Here’s the tree that we haven’t put up since 1997:
Much has changed since then. It’s a different world, and yet the same old tree with some of the same ornaments that Zephyr once chewed up. I was upset when she did it, but now that she’s gone, it makes me smile to see her teeth marks on them. It’s added a whole layer of happy memories that dangle from the tree along with the ornaments.
And so amongst decorations, with music playing, food digesting, and A Christmas Story repeating endlessly on the tube, I find myself caught up in the bottom-line (no not that bottom line) magic of this time of year that when stripped of its commercialism, its overindulgence, its manufactured angst and hurry, comes to mean, for me anyway, the acting out of a desire for nothing more than simple peace and happiness, which I think is probably what most people really want. Let it be so.
I’m not sure it’s that special, but I always wanted to do a Very Special something along the lines of all the Very Special episodes that certain TV shows run this time of year. I also like the fact that the title of this post double categorizes itself. Is this a Days till Christmas post? Is it a Weekend Hound & Cat Report? Is it just a post with an overlong title involving too many colons? Am I rambling too much on this? Probably, so here it is with, oh what the hell, a colon:
Because there was no room at the inn kennel and not a single shepard watching his flock by night person we know who felt comfortable giving Morrison his insulin injections, he accompanied us on our journey to visit my wife’s family in east Texas. He travels pretty well in the car, and considering there were two large greyhounds and one cat, the trip went uneventfully.
Daphne hid under a pile of blankets. Morrison slept mostly in his cat carrier. Phoebe seemed to have had a good time on the road. This was the first time she’d gone farther than the vet, and she was excited about this opportunity to slay the dragon, destroy the One Ring, learn the ways of The Force, and sit in a car for six hours. The excitement lasted about half-way to Houston and then she just curled up and slept through the rest of the drive.
As we progressed down I-10 and into the Golden Triangle, it was nice to see Christmas lights and other decorations on so many buildings and homes despite the FEMA tarps that still cover most of the roofs. East Texas still looks “all tore up” but not as bad as the last time we were here, though, I couldn’t believe some of the damage in Port Arthur that we hadn’t seen last month since we didn’t go that way. Port Arthur was the town where Morrison decided the trip was over and began meowing and singing his Blues of the Lonesome Road. Fortunately, by that point we were almost there.
When we arrived, Phoebe was introduced to this side of the family and they all seem to like her, and more importantly she isn’t afraid of them. She’s exploring, Daphne is hiding, and Morrison is following my father-in-law around. Hopefully they’ll all enjoy tolerate the drive home as well as they did the drive here.
Until then, stop off at Ironicus Maximus to find out if greyhounds really are dogs.