Editor’s Note: The holidays are typically so busy, I intentionally decided to post Eshrink’s Christmas letter AFTER Christmas. Yes. That’s it! I didn’t forget to post it. I’m not suffering from menopausal A.D.D. or anything like that. I decided Eshrink readers deserved a good laugh to end this crazy year of 2020.
Dear Friends, Family and Christmas letter afficionados,
We are living in another one of those times which “try men’s souls”. In our case both our souls survive in spite of the isolation imposed by this damnable virus, and we remain in possession of all necessary body parts. Our efforts to avoid the bug have included cancellation of the annual Smith vacation, and Thanksgiving by Zoom. It is not looking good for Christmas either. The kids did conspire to throw a big outdoor family party for the old man’s 90th B-day complete with balloons and posters, but lacking in hugs. When I am not hobbling around the house with my cane complaining about my aches and pains in fruitless attempts to elicit sympathy, I can usually be found at my desk writing a blog, a stupid Christmas letter, updating my obituary, or dealing with Floyd the devil dog.
That latter activity has become a full-time job. Those of you who have visited us have undoubtedly met Floyd whom we rescued from our local dog pound 3 years ago, for he is a very gregarious outgoing mut of undistinguished lineage. As a matter of fact, his welcomes can be overwhelming at times, as it was for a rather staid elderly widow who after seating herself on our couch was enthusiastically greeted by Floyd via his leaping over the coffee table to land directly in her lap (did I mention he is very athletic?). His other favored method of greeting a visitor can be even more problematic. Some who read this may have been conned into helping Floyd exercise his fetish of having his belly rubbed without realizing that when he enters into that state of ecstasy his bladder sphincter also relaxes and the one who rubs will find themselves in the direct line of fire.
In a previous letter, I believe I mentioned some of Floyd’s past exploits. I could tolerate his digging up a well-manicured lawn, constant barking, burying our newspapers, and even the embarrassment of his leaping into the mail truck, but those behaviors are minor compared to his more recent attempts to kill me. He is quite capable of feigning affection while possessing the heart of a cat killer (another story). He has even attempted to break up my marriage by refusing to allow me to even come into contact with Barb.
Floyd’s bona fides as a devil dog were confirmed by his ability to make Barb and I the neighborhood pariahs. Although he is in many ways very gregarious and welcoming to other dogs, he has decided that they are not to be allowed to walk on our street, and he routinely stands guard barking at the many dogs that are walked past our front yard. Until last Memorial Day he was contained by an underground electric fence but on that day which will live in infamy he decided to brave the shock to run through it and launch a vicious attack on a neighbor’s dogs. Needless to say, our neighbor was not happy. A week later, in spite of my cranking the fence shock level up to the max, he again attacked the same dogs – this time drawing blood. I learned that the middle of a dog fight is not a good place to be nevertheless; I managed to pull Floyd away from his victims but ended up flat on my skinney butt holding onto his collar. I barely had time to get up off the ground when an ambulance arrived followed minutes later by two cop cars and the dog warden. The ambulance guys seemed disappointed that I was not hurt, the sheriff deputies were amused, the neighbor was only mildly homicidal, and the dog warden gave me a serious lecture and a ticket to appear in county court. All the players in this little drama were unmasked, by the way.
Peter, always the good son, insisted on accompanying me to the court appearance even though I assured him I would be allowed a phone call before they locked me up. The court appearance was an illuminating experience. The room was packed with fellow criminals, but I decided to play the gimpy old geezer card and made sure my cane was on full display as I hobbled up to the podium to plead guilty. I was surprised to learn the judge had a rather comprehensive description of the events leading up to my appearance, and was impressed that I had paid my neighbor’s vet bill ($242.90). I assured him that we were lo longer depending on the underground fence and were in the process of hiring a dog walker. He seemed impressed and suspended my sentence and told me I would only pay court costs of $50.00, but when I checked out I was told I owed $98.00. I didn’t complain out of fear that I might be charged with contempt of court or something equally disgraceful.
Floyd’s absolute favorite activity is riding in a car, and a recent episode in which he attempted to engineer my death explains why. With the covid thing, Barb and I have spent time exploring some of the less traveled back roads of the county. Though he feigns ignorance when convenient, Floyd seems to be electronically gifted for he learned some time ago that he could lower the car window by tramping on the button. On this one particular trip I neglected to set the window lock button, and when I slowed to turn off the road, he was instantly out the window and racing down the middle of a heavily traveled 2 lane country road. As soon as I could turn around, I succumbed to Barb’s pleas by going after him, but when I caught up, he turned and ran in the opposite direction. I turned again, and this time he had stopped to investigate something in the middle of the road. With deep ditches on each side of the road, I was forced to stop in the traffic lane. Barb got out to retrieve the scoundrel, but found we did not have his leash. It was obvious that a gimpy old fart like me would be of little help, but as I attempted to extricate myself from the car, I was saved by a guardian angel. This person was not your stereotypical angel. He had no wings, but of course you can only know an angel by what he does, not by how he looks. He stopped his pickup truck in the lane opposite mine, and stepped out – a man mountain with biceps the circumference of my thighs. Meanwhile, cars were backed up in both directions, but amazingly no one was rear-ended. I knew this angel must be heaven sent when he got his female boxer dog out of his truck, Floyd found her irresistible. When the devil dog approached to check her out, my angel scooped him up, dumped him in my car and drove away before I could even thank him.
The angels who look after my family have also done a good job. Barb is still a delightful companion (most days) and everyone has escaped the ravages of the covid virus except for Emma whose case was mild. Caroline’s roommate has contracted the disease and Caroline is in quarantine but so far remains negative. Everyone is gainfully employed in spite of the pandemic. Barb and I remain perplexed as to how we managed to end our lives surrounded by such a marvelous group of people, and what I have done to deserve the longevity with which I have been blessed. We can only assume divine intervention was involved. Therefore; with love for all and in the spirit of the season Barb and I WISH FOR YOU THAT YOUR ANGELS WILL KEEP YOU SAFE AND BLESS YOU WITH THE MERRIEST OF CHRISTMASES AND THE HAPPIEST OF NEW YEARS.