Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pets of Christmas Past

Santa, baby, bring me some of that bird sushi for Christmas.

Maureen here. Leaving to go to my sister Peggy's for Christmas dinner and jocularity soon. Leslie's cats got treats after breakfast today, although Nefertiti, the beauty in the photo, even today seems to be more interested in the birdies she can see from the window.

I got thinking of how I miss my old Joon Bug, my late great mini bull terrier. They call BT's "a three-year-old in a dog suit" and that certainly fit Joon when she was young. I remember Christmases at my dad's house when Joon would be so wound up she'd race from room to room, especially when she'd hear the rattle of wrappping paper. The only person who could calm her down was my teenage nephew Ryan. We didn't have the term "dog whisperer" then, but that certainly fit Ryan. He'd put the Bug on his lap and rub her ears and she'd lapse into quiet contentment. To think this is now his first Christmas as a newlywed with his beautiful bride Katie - and a CAT, of all things.

My dad had a chair in the living room that was HIS chair - we daughters called it the Archie Bunker chair. The only one who dared fight him for it was Joon. Dad would go into the living room to settle down comfortably in the Chair, and Joon would be perched there, grinning at him. Dad would pretend to be exasperated, but the next thing you'd know, the two of them would be in the chair together, watching some sappy Christmas thing on TV or football.

Before Joon, I had a cat, Tiger the Terrible. I can still remember the very distinct sound of Tiger eating needles off the bottom branches of the Christmas tree. It sounded like a tiny elf eating wee potato chips. I also remember the very distinct sound of the spruce needles coming back up a couple of hours later.

One Christmas, I brought Tiger home with me because I was going to stay a few days. Mom was doing laundry, and the weather was so bad she was actually using the dryer. This was quite an occasion, as Mom much prefered to hang clothes outside because they smelled so nice from the fresh air and it saved electricity. (Mom was green before it was cool.) Anyway, she finished loading the clothes in the dryer, closed the door, and turned in on.

"Ka-Bang! Ka-Bang!"

I came running in and Mom opened the dryer door as quickly as she could. Out sprang Tiger. He must have leapt six feet straight out from the dryer before his paws hit the floor. Mom was horrified and I was so laughing so hard I couldn't talk. Tiger raced to the other end of the house, dashed up the stairs, and pouted under my parents' bed for hours. Mom couldn't stop apologizing.

Going back even farther, when I was in grad school at Syracuse, I took care of my friend Rita's cat Zelda over Christmas break while Rita was away. Mom, who had never let us have pets, said I could bring Zelda home. She was a very well-behaved guest for the most part. We had one of those big old color TV's that got really warm on top. Zelda loved the heat and would lie on the TV on her back, with her head hanging down over the top of the screen. Given the state of network television at the time, Zelda was indoubitably more amusing that what we were watching.

I believe it was New Year's Day, not Christmas, when Zelda made her move. We were at the dining room table, enjoying a delicious turkey dinner (having had ham at Christmas) when we heard a distinct thump! from the kitchen. We all looked at each other quizzically, and then I went racing into the kitchen. There on the counter was Zelda, stalking the turkey as though she were a lioness on the savanna, stalking a gazelle. Despite the poetry of the image, Zelda got no turkey that day.

I see it's time for me to go to Peggy's for this year's Christmas ham. For all of you and your pets today, I wish all the best. As always,

"May your days be merry and bright,

And may all your Christmases be white."

- Maureen


SheilaShine said...

Tiger and the dryer is one Christmas memory that lingers. His fur was so full of static electricy and fear that he looked like he was twice the size when that dryer door opened. Never saw him move that fast either. On a different note, the photo of Nefertiti reminds me of Tiger stalking the birds in the trees outside of our apatment in Arlington. How sweet!

Unknown said...

So sorry I didn't see this blog while Ryan and Katie visited this Christmas, but I'll be sure to send a link.
I give Joon the highest all-time marks for snuggling. Nothing like a warm lap, a blanket, and her pointy nose under the covers. There was no getting cold with the bug. However, some of the heat came from the other end of her bullet body, giving a whole new meaning to "Stink Bug." But since she was such a love bug, the aroma was no more than an inconvenience.
Happy New Year from Pat, Willow, the giant marshmallow cat, and Oscar, the lovable Shepweiller.