Butch and Sundance (part, the one)
It is said that holidays are all about tradition. If you do it more than once, is "it" considered a tradition? Well anyway, mom and I now have a new Christmas tradition, we attend a candlelight service on Christmas Eve at a little country church with a tall white steeple. I mention the steeple because it serves as a beacon when driving down a steep hill to the final turnoff onto the dirt road that leads to my momma's house. Since it's a 12+ hour drive from my front door to hers, that tall white steeple all lit up with a 1,000 watts of light and God's great glory is a sight for weary eyes in the dark of night.
The service is short, running about an hour start to finish. It starts with hugging as you come in the door, some singing, some preaching, a little more singing, the serving of communion (this year they used strips of pie crust for the unleavened bread) and then boom boom, out go the lights and we do the passing of the flame in a circle around the sanctuary and stand there looking angelic in the candle light for about 30 seconds and then with a collective huff and puff, out go the candles and we go home. All-in-all, a pretty low key service and one I can tolerate for the sake of tradition.
This is a people-only Christmas Eve service, so the two dogs stayed at home, the two dogs being Mocha and Jenny, my mom's 12 year old golden retriever. These dogs have known each other a decade, hung out, had fun and in general, never had a cross word or reason to squabble. They eat each others food, play with each others toys and love their mommas something fierce. As we pulled in, I noticed Mocha on the bed in the guest room barking her head off out the window. Bless her heart I thought to myself. Sound the alarm was more like it.
We must have forgotten to turn on the porch light before leaving for church because the front of the house was dark. No problem, mom directed the car lights on the front door while I hopped out and unlocked it. As I turned to give her a thumbs up and switch on the porch light, something in the middle of living room floor caught my eye. This little fella, who is usually perched on the back of the sofa was face down on the floor with it guts turned inside out:
Cute isn't he? Sitting there all happy and unsuspecting like. Yes, those are milk bones in his tummy and he has a shiny little zipper up the back, so it takes a creature with opposable thumbs to open him up and dole out the goodies, or so we thought.
Mom was coming up fast behind me so I turned around and said the first thing that came to mind, "Uh oh!" "What?", she asked. "I think we may have had a fatality in the living room, but not in a messy, bad way.", I quipped. "What are you talking about, get inside it's cold out here!", she urged. So I slowly opened the door to reveal the carnage. There lay Mr. Snowman, face down on the shrimp pink carpet, his zipper undone from cranium to crack and not a milk bone to be seen, only tell-tale crumbs on the sofa cushions and floor. And there, sitting next to each other looking nonchalant was a chocolate dog and a blonde dog looking us square in the eye and smirking...yes, smirking.
I picked up the victim and let out an "Ick!" Mr. Snowman was saturated in dog slobber. I held it in mid air by the fuzzy ball on the top of its hat and waved it in front of the dogs asking, "What happened here?" Mocha licked her chops! Jenny cast her doe brown eyes downward in shame, locking her gaze on her front paws. It was obvious these two were now partners in crime, thick as thieves and guilty as two sisters sneaking in the bedroom window after curfew.
As mom and I inspected the damage, we surmised that while we had spent the better part of an hour listening to stories about the baby Jesus, these two dogs had spent their time figuring out how to unzip a zipper.
I don't know about you, but I suspect if left alone with the blueprints to the local bank and the keys to the car, we'd have ourselves a little Christmas Eve bank robbery and two dogs making a run for the border.
Beauty Supplies (part, the two)
It's been my observation that Southern women have a talent for wielding words like a scalpel in the hand of a brain surgeon, cutting you to the quick before you even know you've been prepped for surgery. If you are ever in the company of Southern women, you might want to lean forward a bit and listen carefully. Done well, it truly is an art and I do believe my momma has a blue ribbon tucked away in a scrapbook somewhere for her talents in this arena.
Case and point...We're sitting at the breakfast table the morning after I've driven 12+ hours to spend Christmas with her. This is the day we will "go into town" to do some last minute Christmas shopping and errand running. She's made a nice breakfast and I'm enjoying my first cup of coffee when she asks, "Do you need any beauty supplies?"
I look at her through the steam rising from my coffee cup and don't say a word. She giggles and says, "That didn't sound very good did it?"
"No mother, I don't need any beauty supplies, but thanks for asking.", I say in a low, even tone.
Mothers and daughters. When expectation meets reality over breakfast, it's best to keep the sharp knives in the drawer.
A Bee (part, the three)
Mocha has a talent for catching flies. Like R. M. Renfield, she relishes them as a snack.
We awoke very early Christmas Eve morning, so early we were the first ones up. Miss Mocha and I needed some exercise so I threw on the hiking boots and off we went for a walk around the fishing camp. Energized when we returned and offended by the layers of dog hair, discarded diet coke bottles and potato chip bags in my car, I decided to launch an all out attack. Miss Mocha hung out with me while I dove in with a shop vac, roll of paper towels, windex and a large garbage bag. She supervised from a safe distance and three hours later, the inside of the car was clean.
All that supervising must have worn Miss Mocha out. As I made a bee line for the shower, she headed for the sofa and a well-deserved nap. Emerging clean and ravenous, it was time for a hearty lunch of chicken and dumplings followed by a nap of my own. As the brown one and I settled into the "Princess and the Pea" bed in the guest room I went to kiss her on her pointed little head and realized the entire right side of her face was swollen like Rocky Balboa.
I gently and carefully inspected her mouth, head, ears and came to the conclusion she'd mistaken a bee for a fly and would up with a smack instead of a snack. Bless her heart she looked so pitiful. A dose of Benadryl and a long nap with the momma seemed to do the trick and no, I did not take a picture of her state of vulnerability for the entire Blogosphere to ogle.
Mothers and daughters. Her dignity is safe with me.