Thoughts Released

Holidays On a Runaway Rampage

I walked into my favorite bakery. It’s a small shop, but the pastries can be relied on not to disappoint! But I had a surprise.

Every year they display a white, artificial Christmas tree. I have nothing against artificial Christmas trees. I have one in my basement ready to be brought up a week or two before Christmas where it can be decorated to boost the holiday feeling.

But the date was September 24. That happens to be my birthday, but I’ve never had a tree to celebrate the occasion. Sure enough, no birthday candles nor balloons. I looked at it to see what baubles were hanging from it this year. I didn’t want the bakery staff to see me staring, but it needed a closer look-see.

There among the tiny manger scenes, angels, etc., were strange things that required further examination. Tiny, tin, orange buckets had black pictures of Halloween cats and witches wearing pointy hats. Tiny brooms were fastened among the branches. Next, I could pick out Thanksgiving symbols: small turkey carcasses, cornucopias, figures of the early pilgrims. The bakery owners were pointing to the holidays we recognize coming up in the last three months of the year.

Halloween is a party time for the young and the young at heart. Thanksgiving is a time for family and being thankful (and eating too much). Christmas is a gift-giving time to remember the Greatest Gift ever given.

As Christmastime approaches, it may be that the bakery owners will remove all the extraneous items, so that the celebration of Christmas won’t be watered down. (And it might boost the sale of their fruitcakes!)

I didn’t know whether censorship or congratulations were in order. I guess if you become too busy to slow down to enjoy each holiday, this is a way to bundle. But it might not be attractive to sing Christmas carols, wearing Halloween costumes with turkey grease on our lips.

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Frank Comes To Church

Every evening my husband and I have devotions in our living room. When my husband comes from the bedroom into the living room with the devotional material in his hand, our dog, Frank, grabs his rawhide donut and plops down on the floor in front of us. He never misses a night. He would probably suffer withdrawal if we missed a night.

However, like many church goers, his attention span isn’t the best. He chews on the donut awhile, and then he stretches out and goes to sleep. (There used to be a gentleman in our home church congregation that did that–not the chewing of the donut or stretching out, but his chin rested on his chest as he dozed off.)

But Frank is faithful in his attendance and that counts for something! He also sings a little when I play a hymn. Whether that can have an ecclesiastical explanation or discomfort in his ears, we may have to guess.

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Stroll Around the House

Mornings find me taking Frank, my dog, out for his walk. As the door closes behind us, it is a signal for other animals to join. Our lady cat named Marble wraps around my legs until I scratch her head briefly, then she falls in. Our black cat, named Hal (short for Halloween because that’s when he showed up at our house as an abandoned kitten} ignores me but walks closely to his beloved friend, Frank. Hal has an abbreviated tail. Where he lost part of it is a mystery, but he survived the embarrassment and joins our parade.

Off the three of us go on the familiar morning path. We aren’t alone for long. Every morning a catbird provides aerial surveillance, swooping down on the cats. He particularly dislikes Marble.

I’ve never attributed cats with many ‘smarts’, but Marble shelters at my legs until we pass the tree growing in the catbird’s territory. So far, the bird hasn’t tried to get into my hair. Then one morning, the catbird no longer bothered us. Marble has been seen eating feathered food, but I’d rather think that the catbird’s eggs hatched, her babies no longer nesting, and the need for protecting her tree no longer necessary.

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New Neighbor

Our butler is our Cavalier King Charles named Frank. Whenever there’s a knock or bell at our door, he tears out for the door at top speed, barking all the way.

We have a new red-headed neighbor who came to visit. He tapped at the front, sending Frank rushing to answer the call. I followed him, and there was no one there. He heard a knock at our back door and quickly changed directions.

By now I was curious and went out on the porch to welcome our shy visitor. There, perched at the edge of our roof, was our new neighbor–a red-headed woodpecker, hammering away at our wooden trim board.

Now, after a couple of weeks, Franks ignores him. I guess he has decided the distinctive rat-a-tat-tat no longer requires his welcome.