I gave it a lot of thought. I really did. That was after I hauled Hub out of bed to investigate the lonely cry for help of – I don’t know – maybe a cow, perhaps a moose, maybe even an elk.
It was not just some bovine creature saying ‘Good Morning World’. Of course it might be a hungry or cold cow among the farmer’s herd down the road, but if it is, there is nothing I can do about it. It can bawl, it can cry, and if I go down there, it can look at me with haunted worried big brown eyes with tears in them, and still I can do nothing. If ribs aren’t showing, if emaciation isn’t extreme enough for a few of the herd to have already succumbed, it will simply have to continue being cold and hungry.
I really hate the way critter cries dig down so deep inside of me and makes me feel responsible. Where in God’s world did I get this annoying notion that if I have the ways or means to fix it, I must – even if it is none of my business and I know it.
I suffer, man do I suffer, when the farmers in the area wean their calves. Babies crying, mama’s weeping. Makes me heartsick until it finally stops. But then I think ‘oh well, now that it has finally stopped the mom must have gone off to the slaughter-house or the calves to the auction mart’ and the sickness of too much concern over what is none of my business starts all over again.
But going back to this morning’s events, you know, of course, what happened after I rousted Hub out of bed to investigate that brutal cry for help I was hearing?
Nothing. Suddenly total silence. No more calls for help. Just utter silence. And with the breeze and the way currents of sound are magnified in the cold air, I have no idea exactly where the call was coming from originally, so that was the end of that.
Except for me admonishing myself in a sad and sickly way with the thought that I should have rousted Hub out of bed sooner so something could have been done.
But how did I get here in this rant? This was not what I intended to tell you.
What I intended to tell you is I have given it much thought. And eventually decided that I am not going to haul that tree upstairs and piss around with it just so a few of the neighbors and a few of my family members can give it a casual glance before I do the worst of that chore. The horrendous and totally despicable task of putting it all back again for another year.
If the kids were coming home for a day or two en masse, I would do it, but this year that is not going to happen. So the tree can stay in the basement. I have enough other stuff to do to get ready for Christmas without that carry-on…i.e. tangled lights, bulbs that need to be replaced (if I ever can find which one needs replacement), missing hangers, crushed garlands, etc.
Besides the food is much more important. There must be turkey, fresh buns, and pies, and cranberry sauce, and truffles, and the best-ever carrot cake with toasted nuts (not just nuts tossed in out of the nut-bag). There must be hand-made cards for the few I give cards to, because that is what I get from them, and they are far more meaningful than store-bought. And all the corners in this house have to be thoroughly mucked out, the furniture polished, the windows and floors gleaming, and table-cloths laundered and starched. Is it not enough, without the Christmas tree routine?
And so, the decision is made. Only our little gift exchanges and our hearts will signify it is Christmas. There will be no Christmas prompts or add-ons like a stupid tree. My mind is made up. I’m very grateful that I am old enough and mature enough to make this decision without sanctification by others. The tree will stay in the basement. And I am much relieved that it will.
But now, oh yeah, always in the crowd there is some impertinent entity of one kind or another who would press for an alteration of that decision. And that is what has happened here.
That stupid Christmas cactus that hasn’t even thought about Christmas or blooming for six years is blooming all over the place. Screaming at me in desperation like that creature down the road this morning. “Christmas is here. Christmas is here. Better get that tree out of the basement. I can't do all this Christmas-ambiance-stuff all by myself!”
“Well, fine and dandy, then. Anything to stop the whining. So there you go. Here’s a tree if you insist. Now I don’t want to hear another word about it.”