Jon de Vos – Who ate all of Santa’s cookies?
Winter Park, CO Colorado
A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I sat down to calmly discuss whether our dogs were mature enough to handle a Christmas tree in the middle of the living room. We went back and forth, “I don’t think they could restrain themselves from eating the strung together popcorn garlands,” I said.
“They’re plastic,” my wife countered.
“So are Netflix DVDs,” I reminded her.
“Oh yeah, that’s right. I guess it’s a definite no on the candy canes.”
“No, of course not,” I replied weakly.
We agreed that not only could there be no edibles on the tree, it would also be prudent to avoid anything that even remotely looked like it could be eaten. As we discussed the issue, we tried not to sugar coat their faults, staring at them fondly as they lay stretched across the extent of the living room couch. It’s hard to be objective while they’re sleeping, the only time of the day they even approach that hoped-for state of “good dog.”
Cuervo is 30 pounds of high energy, easily capable of leaping tall tree angels in a single bound. Freeta Goodhome, the basset hound, is a criminal, proven capable of opening the refrigerator with her powerful suction-cup nose. Together they’re a bad mix, sort of like the Anti-Santa and the Evil Elf.
But we love them, and gazed at them fondly as our better judgment swirled out the chimney like smoke, and we decided to put up a tree anyway. We agreed that we’d stand behind each other no matter what happened.
Backing out of the driveway, my wife said to me, “I’m going shopping, you get out the Christmas boxes and stand up the tree. Don’t let the dogs get into anything.” Putting her finger to her nose, she and her PT Cruiser named Tom, disappeared in a puff of exhaust. On Dasher and Dancer!
Our Christmas box has ornaments that predate his and her sides of the family, including a plaster of Paris blob neither one of us will own up to. I’m not even sure it’s an ornament, but it’s been with us so long it wouldn’t seem like Christmas without it. I set the box on the kitchen table and went to get the tree standing just outside the door.
While I was gone for, oh maybe eight seconds Freeta nailed a string of ornamental red chilies, chewing them into a fire engine red pulp and grinding them into the carpet. My eyes bugged out like a cartoon. The last thing my wife said was, “Don’t let the dogs get into anything.” She hasn’t been gone three minutes and on my watch the dog has ruined the living room carpet.
Maybe not. Blot, don’t rub. Blotting turned a brilliant red stain into a bright rose splotch shaped remarkably like Ecuador only not quite as big. After 10 minutes, I gave up and got a harsh detergent and scrubbed until the onset of repetitive motion syndrome. Then I stood back and stared at the results. Then I moved a little further back, dimmed the lights and squinted tightly. Yeah. That’ll work. I washed my hands and ran upstairs, quickly engrossed with work vital to National Security.
As I predicted, when she returned home her composure was ruffled. Okay, actually she exploded like a cheap Chinese rocket. Who could blame her, what with the house looking so nice for Christmas except for this big rose blotch right in the middle of the living room carpet?
So, if you drop over during the holidays, we’ll have cookies and fruitcake, maybe I’ll make some wassail if I can figure out what it is. Try not to notice the huge throw rug in the middle of the living room, and you may, or maybe not, be able to admire our tree. Sort of depends if it’s still standing.
– Willard, Jon de Vos’ pet rat, welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
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