About thirty years ago as a teenager just able to drive, my mom got me a car for Christmas.
We had opened our presents and were on to our stockings when I found a pair of car keys in one of mine. Mom told me to go outside to see the rest of the present, and lo and behold in the middle of the driveway was the car I had always dreamed of — a red Mustang convertible.
A Hot Wheels red Mustang convertible.
Most people to whom I tell this story think it was cruel to have tricked me like that, but I thought it was funny then and funny now. For one thing we had always been told that we’d have to buy our first car. For another even as the clear favorite of the four kids, I knew there was no way my folks would buy me a car before my older brother, even if we could have afforded it. Then there was the small matter that the keys were from a GM car while my dream car was a Ford.
It was a way for mom to tell me that even if she couldn’t afford to get me a real car, we could have a little fun with it, that she loved me and had listened to all those times I had rambled on about a red convertible Mustang, and remains to this day one of my favorite memories from my youth.
The funny thing is, in the intervening three decades I’ve never once been tempted to buy the real car for myself. But I still have the little car, it’s shown up top sitting on our real Christmas car, our new Subaru XV Crosstrek (the “road” in the picture is one of the roof rails on top of the car). For a size comparison, below it’s shown on the rear bumper of the Crosstrek (dirt courtesy of Ridgefield). The final picture below I took before taking it up to the refuge for the first time on Christmas morning, while the car was nice and clean.
She assures me she can stop anytime she wants.
Scout recently went in for her yearly checkup and got an especially good report. The vet found it hard to believe she was about to turn nine as physically she seems like a much younger cat. Scout spent the rest of the day running around the house pumping her little fists, shouting “Take that Ponce de LeÃ³n!” to no one in particular.
We had a nice relaxing Christmas this year. I’m off from work for a couple of weeks so I got up before sunrise and went to Ridgefield as I have most days this week. Today, though, instead of staying all day at the refuge I came home for the afternoon. The cats were treated with extra salmon treats while Ellie got a new baby hedgehog to go along with the other two. One of the older ones has been designated for outdoor use but has seen so much love that its face is starting to fall off.
New baby hedgehog was a huge hit and an excited Ellie squeaked it all day long, taking a break only to toss it at us in hopes of play. She finally tuckered out and is sleeping beside me at the moment.
She’s posing here beside our bedraggled tree with the new hedgehog. The eagle-eyed observer may notice that there are two new hedgehogs in the picture, the toy at Ellie’s feet and a new ornament that my wife made in Ellie’s honor.
The eagle-eyed observer may also note that Emma is sitting underneath the tree. She has not been climbing the tree so much since the ornaments went on, although she did break one of the colored glass balls and beloved gold Santa took a beating.
There’s a reason I don’t put the ornaments on the tree right away.
I thought with another year of wisdom and experience the cats might be kinder to the tree. But yesterday we got home from work to find this carnage in the living room.
The investigation initially focused on two prime suspects, juvenile offenders with a past history of tree climbing, but the discovery of a clump of soft, black fur in the treetop has narrowed the focus. The accused did herself no favors when, as I righted the tree, she climbed back into it before I even had it upright again.
In her defense, the tree stand isn’t the best. It certainly wasn’t designed with the idea of a 10 lb. ornament hanging from the top.