Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas Past

As the Christmas season begins to envelop us, I am reminded of the first year that my husband and I celebrated Christmas with greyhounds.  The year before had been the first year we'd celebrated Christmas in our new house, but there had been a blizzard every weekend of December and it had been too treacherous for us to venture out to get a Christmas tree.  We barely managed to get our Christmas shopping done.  Treat was our Christmas present to ourselves that year and she came home on December 30.  She would have experienced a Christmas tree if the weather gods had been more favorable, but as it was, she and Hawk celebrated their first Christmas together in our house with a tree at the end of the next year.

I can remember the look on Hawk's face as we'd brought the tree into the living room.  His eyes said "You love me so much, you got me indoor plumbing" but we informed him that it wasn't the case and life started off rather smoothly.  This Christmas tree was particularly difficult to get set up in the stand, but we persevered and were soon rewarded with a rather nice-looking tree in our living room.  Charlie Brown would have been envious.  The cats seemed to have more interest in the tree than the dogs did and we soon relaxed about having any accidents or problems. 

About a week before Christmas, my husband and I went out shopping together.  We had packed in a busy day and had picked up a few toys for the dogs while we were out.  One of those was a stuffed snowman that sang "Jingle Bells" that I thought Hawk would really like.  As we were wrapping up our shopping, we got a phone call that my husband's great grandmother was in the hospital.  We ran home, since we were shopping in a different city from where she was hospitalized, and fed the dogs and let them out.  While we were home, I couldn't resist giving Hawk the new toy.  His eyes lit up and his tail went into helicopter circles.  The toy incited him into a near rapturous state as he pounced on it and tossed it around.  We left the house again, satisfied that the dogs were taken care of for the next few hours and went to visit at the hospital. 

When we came home, my husband said "The Christmas tree is gone."  I thought he was joking, which he nearly always is, and laughed it off.  However, when we entered the back door, I knew that something was terribly wrong.  Instead of two happy hounds at the back door, we were greeted by silence.  Treat and Hawk came creeping across the kitchen floor looking so guilty and terrified that I could not imagine what had happened.  As I walked into the living room, I learned the truth.

Our Christmas tree lay on the ground, a strand of white lights trailing in a straight line towards the kitchen door.  Ornaments were scattered across the living room floor.  The candles on the coffee table were broken and hanging off the edge of the table.  Two of the crocheted ornaments that had been hanging on the tree had been attacked by Treat in a fit of retribution and had been left chewed and gummy.  My husband took them out to the turn out pens and then brought them into the garage while we cleaned up the carnage.  Half an hour later, we had righted the tree, cleaned up the ornaments, run the vaccuum and brought the dogs back in.  We imagine that Hawk was playing with the snowman, tossed it into the tree or beneath it, then got caught in the lights as he tried to retrieve it, setting off the chain of events.

The next morning we noticed that the tree was listing to the side.  By afternoon it had to be readjusted and we could see that there were some pretty deep scars in the trunk from the fall the night before.  We got out some pieces of plywood and stuck them in between the tree and the screws from the tree stand.  That helped for a few days.  Then the cat decided that he should pee on the tree.  That smelled bad enough, but then the wood began to rot.  The day after Christmas, we drug the dilapidated tree to the curb and everyone breathed a sigh of relief for their own reasons.  We couldn't stand the smell, the cats didn't like it blocking their afternoon sunshine and the dogs didn't like the way it kept looking at them funny.  We laugh about that tree every year as we get ready to set up one for the new season.
Blueberry Types for the Blog


  1. We were laughing here. A tree finally get revenge!

    While we have had several minor tree incidents (that result in The Herd not being allowed in the same room as the tree), our only major one was a zoomie game that got misdirected and the tree ended up in a direct hit. I was reading the paper, heard the crashing sound and saw flying ornaments out of the corner of my eye. I looked up to see two Sibes sitting in the branches of the now prone tree with the sweetest, most innocent look. The We Don't Know What Happened Look would have worked, if they were not actually sitting in the middle of the branches.


  2. Oh gosh gal I`m so glad to finally to see the pictures of that incident you`ve spoken of before to us at the Repository!

  3. Funny! We are attempting a tree for the first time in 5 or 6 years. Our feline patriarch, Raven, likes to live up to his Norwegian Forest Cat standards. He lays in the Christmas tree. He has ruined THREE artificial trees of varying sizes. This year we are going with a live tree, ball of dirt and all. Hopefully, it will break the destructo kitty cycle.

  4. Too Funny!!!! What an awesome Christmas Tragedy Memory!!!

  5. That hasn't happened here yet, but is only just a matter of time I'm sure. With the hounds and now two kitties who will be celebrating their first Christmas .... yep it will no doubt soon be a reality here.

  6. Oh dear! What a fun story (as long as it happened at your house). My husband always wants a BIG tree and I always insist on a tabletop. I just don't want to tempt anybody or have a flying body or toy cause general mayhem. Whoops!

    Mango Momma


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