I feel like telling a story and today is Monday and there has been a little madness going on here.
Last week we got a D O G. I still can’t say it out loud. I can’t let the folks know how pleased I am to have a new pet. Titus is his name but this story is not about him. Before this retriever, I had a black lab when I lived with my mother in my early 20’s. His name was Cole. I actually got him for my 17th birthday and had him until he passed. He was a great dog full of adventure. This story is about his greatest adventure with my mother.
My mother had the habit of collecting birds. Not any ordinary bird but the birds from the family funerals. I don’t know why or when it started but she had collected enough birds that every Christmas she would put these birds on the Christmas tree. As she hung them she would say, “Merry Christmas” to each family member gone but not forgotten. I don’t know how she knew which was which, but she knew and proudly displayed them on the branches to our dismay. We never begrudged her of this habit because it somehow gave her comfort over the holiday. And when the holiday was over, she would pack them back up until the next Christmas.
One Christmas we took our mother to church service on Christmas Eve. We used to go when we were children and wanted to surprise her and go without prodding. This was a Christmas everyone was home for the holidays. Mom had her bird tree up in all it’s glory and we went out the door leaving Cole in the house because it was snowing. He was an in house dog and we never had any problems out of him so you can imagine my surprise when we returned. Cole must have been upset that we left him because he tore up the sofa cushions. Stuffing was everywhere and I thought my mom was going to flip when she came in the door. She didn’t say a word she just walked through the house. She had to be in shock. Mom is not the quiet type. Suddenly without warning she let out a moan, “Ahhhhh, Uncle Bobby. Noooooo Pop!”
And so on and so on until all the dead birds had been claimed. No one had noticed, Cole had destroyed them all. He had the heart to do what we could not. My mom cried that Christmas but she laughs about it every year now when she puts up her tree. I only hear her say, “that damn dog” and laugh when she puts up his ornament.
Titus. Welcome to the family. I look forward to all our adventures in the years to come.