Saturday, December 30, 2006

What's Next?

We are being told this morning that Saddam was executed last night. What will happen as a result of this execution?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday with Fred the Cat and My Christmas Experiences

This is Fred the Cat and I’m back to my regular Friday blogging.

Wow, what a week this has been! Christmas morning was a trip for me in more ways than one.

First of all, someone dear gave the Pop’s a present of a sea turtle garden decoration. They opted to put it on the patio when I was in my room eating my breakfast. When the door was opened I went back out on the patio. In seconds my eyes caught sight of that turtle. My cat fear instincts kicked in and I jumped about six inches straight up in the air. Someone should have warned me.

Just as I was finally becoming comfortable with my new patio decoration something else happened. Mr. Pop came out with something real shiny in his hand and placed it beside my water bowl. I’m thinking, what the hell can that be? Slowly and carefully I approach this shiny thing. It appeared there was water in it. What the heck? After a few minutes of inspection I discovered that I have a brand new stainless steel water bowl. The old plastic one looked pretty sad beside this pretty new one. Get that old one out of here. I’m drinking from the fine stuff from now on.

Finally her highness brought out a little toy and placed it in front of me. I sniffed it. I rubbed my head on it. I began do drool. I chewed on it. I went cat crazy with it. Cosmic Catnip is my new best friend. But man, that stuff makes you sleepy and then hungry. Damn! Can we buy this stuff by the pound?

Oh yeah, almost forgot. ND-Anna had a special meal of canned cat food for Christmas. She had a fancy little can of turkey and giblets. I think I saw her smile at me while she was eating her Christmas dinner.


Everyone here at Pop-ville wishes each of you a safe and Happy New Year filled with love and gentleness toward all creatures.

What are you guys doing New Year’s Eve?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Your First Thought?

When you heard that President Ford had passed away, what was the first thought that ran through your mind?

Perhaps it was selfish and disrespectful but I’ll be painfully honest. My first thought was, Oh god, we’ll not hear about anything else but this for the next week or longer. The memories of the never ending Reagan tribute in 2004 are still fresh in my mind.

Another thought but unrelated to the President’s death. If it is true that you are what you eat, I am now officially a turkey.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The “Decider's” Decision

I would bet big time that bush will opt for the “surge” when he makes his speech and here’s why I think so.

He isn’t going to pull our troops out because it would mean we “lost”, and he knows his legacy would be little more than fecal matter if that happened. As if.

He can’t just leave things as they are now, because he already admitted that we need to change direction. The public wouldn’t stand for more of the same.

So what’s left if you don’t bring them home, and you can’t keep doing the same old, same old? You extend tours of duty and make the troops go over there more often in order to have a numbers “surge”. If he doesn’t do this, right wing hawks like McCain, and yes Lieberman, will always and forever say the reason we lost the war was due to a lack of troops.

From the news yesterday we learned that Saddam will be executed within the next thirty days. That’s about the same time frame bush has given himself to make his speech telling us what he plans to do in Iraq. Interesting how these two events fall so close to one another. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tripping the Tryptopan-dango

I don’t remember ever before waking up on Christmas morning and being under a tornado watch. That’s what happened yesterday. Are we starting a new holiday tradition?

After hearing the cheery news about the weather, we opened our gifts.

We had played a little joke on Murphy. We wrapped two of his toys he already had and one new one. First we gave him one of the old wrapped toys. He ripped the tissue paper off and just sort of sniffed the toy. Then we gave him the other old gift and the new one. He ripped part way into the old one and stopped. He looked at me in bewilderment. Then he realized he had one more. One sniff of that one told him it was new and he went into high gear tissue paper ripping. He went from confusion to one happy little dog.

Fred was given one of his presents, a toy filled with Cosmic Catnip. A few minutes later after some crazy cat playing, he was in a catnip induced cat coma.

We humans cooked too much food and ate too much food. This event was followed by our own induced tryptophan coma.

Santa didn’t bring the Dallas Cowboys a win. Seems the Cowboys' defense forgot to show up for the game.

All in all it was a very nice Christmas. No tornadoes touched down in our area and a good time was had by all. There’s leftover turkey in the frig so the tryptophan-dango can continue today.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Here!

I hope Santa was as sweet to you guys as you have been to me this year. Thank you so much!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Story Time with Fred the Cat

Fred the Cat here. Today I am posting Pop’s final Christmas Story. Both Pop and I want you to know that we have read all your comments on the previous stories and we surely do appreciate them. As you guys know, I’m a hardened old ex street cat and some of those stories caused tears to roll right down on my whiskers. Don’t tell anyone, okay?

Oh, and about that photo up top. Okay, the little red Santa hat got on my nerves and well I just lost it for a minute. Happens to the best of us sometime around the holidays, right?

The Pops, Murphy and I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas. That goes for you cat and dog characters too! Let’s all make a wish for true peace in our world some day soon. We deserve it, don’t you think?

Christmas Dolls

When I was a little kid, the most beautiful thing I ever saw were those big dolls they sold in grocery stores at Christmas. They were almost three feet tall and were displayed in boxes with one side having a cellophane window so the dolls were exposed. Oh my goodness the feelings I felt as I gazed up at them on the shelves. There were brunette dolls and blonde dolls. I’m telling you, they were treasures to my eyes. There they stood in their beautiful boxes smiling down at me. Sometimes the boxes were almost as pretty as the dolls. I don’t know how much they cost but I knew that they were way beyond anything Santa could ever deliver to my door. But, but gosh they were beautiful.

Santa did sometimes bring me a doll and I loved whatever he chose for me. It’s probably good that I never walked into the living room on Christmas morning to see one of those big beautiful dolls under the Christmas tree because I would have probably had a little kid heart attack. I never expected such a miracle and it never happened.

My family was never in a financial position to splurge at Christmas time. There were some ugly holidays during those years. One year my mother took a doll I already had, made it a new dress and put it under the Christmas tree to make me think it was a new doll. I wasn’t as dense as she had hoped. I figured out the ruse in about five minutes, but I did like the old doll’s new dress.

There was another Christmas when I was ten and my sister was three that we got several fun things from Santa in December, but they were taken away in January by the repossession people. It was hard for me to understand what was happening but it was harder yet to try to explain these events to my three year old sister.

Then there was the year of the Barbie doll. We were in a store and I saw a Barbie doll for the first time. Oh my goodness! Damned if these dolls weren’t perhaps even more beautiful than the big dolls in the grocery store. These small little dolls with the most amazing detail and unimaginably beautiful clothes. I would have gladly allowed someone to cut off my right arm if it meant that I might possess one of these dolls.

When I discovered Barbie my mother told me I was too big to be playing with dolls. Of course I was. Hell, I was eleven years old. But my mother didn’t appear to understand this doll was not to play with, this doll was to admire. This was a goddess doll that must be kept in her beauty and perfect condition.

That Christmas we were beyond Santa so we opened our presents on Christmas Eve. We were living in a not so attractive house at the time and things were near their all time pitiful. My sister and I sat there on the floor and tore into our meager little pile of gifts. We took turns opening our presents. I opened one of mine and about fainted. There among the ripped up wrapping paper was a Barbie doll. Not only a Barbie doll, but an outfit for her too. It took my breath away. I was the owner of this beautiful doll. I went bananas with gratitude. I jumped up and hugged the hell out my mother and I turned around to do the same to my dad but he had had too much to drink, again, and had passed out in his chair.

It almost didn’t matter that he was drunk again. It almost didn’t matter that at the time we lived in a trailer connected to a concrete block structure that served as a living room, bedroom and bath. It almost didn’t matter that daddy’s drunkenness that night would continue for a couple of weeks. It almost didn’t matter if we were, as my grandmother used to say, “poor as a church mouse”. I was the proud owner of a Barbie doll and her outfit.

I still have that Barbie doll and I still have the outfit and all the accessories. I still have the box she came in, and she’s in perfect shape. Not a hair is mussed on her head. Each Christmas I carefully take her from the box and dress her in that gorgeous pink outfit. I place her, along with my grandmother’s old doll, in a position of honor. And every Christmas it almost doesn’t matter that I never had one of those big beautiful dolls in the box, the big dolls that smiled down to me from the shelves at the grocery store.

I have left my days of yearning for dolls behind me now. I’m now a “big girl” and much too old to be playing with dolls. I don’t want or need them anymore. But you know what? They have those big dolls in the box at the grocery store this year and when I see them, just for a tiny moment, I shrink down to that little girl who used to look up at them with such awe. That’s when the little girl tears well up in my adult eyes. But, you know what? It almost doesn’t matter.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Shopping

Yesterday the president told us we should do more shopping. Okay, we will.

Following yesterday’s instructions for the national secret Santa drawing we have more people to buy for. Again choose a number between one and ten and then go to the comments to see you’ll be shopping for and tell us what gift that person will receive from you

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

National Secret Santa Drawing

We are going to have a national Secret Santa drawing of names for Christmas presents. Pick a number between one and ten. Got it? Okay, now go to the comments and see whose name you drew.

Tell us the name you drew and what gift you’ll get for them. Remember there is no limit on the amount you may spend or the amount of imagination you may use.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Spirit, Gifts, good and bad

I wrapped some gifts yesterday and finally got a little bit of that holiday spirit. Oops, sorry Bill O. I meant to say Christmas spirit. I was beginning to think the spirit would pass me by this year. Oh, that would be so sad if it had. Instead I began to give Burl Ives a run for his money singing, “Holly Jolly Christmas”. I have no idea why that particular song came to mind.

It was just Murphy and me sitting on the floor surrounded by all the things you need when wrapping gifts. We had a very good time as I sang and he tried to lick my hand.

I wrapped Fred’s present to Mr. Pop and I wrapped the gift Murphy is giving Mr. Pop too. Those two fur children are great shoppers but not so good with paper, tape, scissors and ribbons. They start playing with the stuff instead of using it as they should.

So in the holiday/Christmas spirit let’s lighten this place up for the next few days. We’ll start here. What was your favorite and least favorite Christmas gift you have received in years gone by?

My favorite and most memorable gift was the ring Mr. Pop gave me the Christmas morning that he asked me to marry him. My least favorite as a little girl was the Christmas my maternal grandmother gave me a doll’s suitcase. When I unwrapped it, I thought there would be a doll inside the case but I was wrong. The small suitcase was filled with dried apples that she had dried herself. In retrospect I appreciate her efforts but at the time, not so much.

Monday, December 18, 2006

No More Complaining

Yesterday Mr. Pop and I went out to finish up a couple of Christmas chores. The traffic was hell, as were the crowds. We managed to do what we needed to do. On our way home we were complaining about the traffic, the crowds and the weather. Even for down here it was too warm. As we were coming through a very nice golf course community we noticed something strange.

For about a couple of blocks there were trucks of all sorts. All of these trucks were companies that you call when you have household damages. Then we saw the homeowners had large plastic bags filled with something in their front yards. There were also piles of carpeting and carpet padding. The key to all this was the truck pumping sewer from the main line.

Yes, the sewer had for some reason backed up into these homes and one week before Christmas these homeowners were having to strip their homes of all contaminated carpeting and whatever else the nasty backup had touched.

As the realization of this event began to manifest in our minds we became silent. These homeowners were going through hell. They had such a horrible situation thrust upon them. All of a sudden our chores, the traffic, the crowds and the warm weather didn’t seem like such a problem.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Story time with Fred the Cat

Fred the Cat here and I’m proving it is the season of brotherly love. Today I’m posting a story about that little white dog in the picture. That’s Murphy, my adopted brother. Most people think of cats and dogs as each others worst enemy. That may be so in some homes, but not this one. This little guy gets along with everyone and everything. So today this cat is going to post Pop’s story about this sweet little dog.

One Little Dog and Christmas

We adopted Murphy about 14 years ago from a local humane society. He’s a full-blooded Bichon who, before meeting Mr. Pop and me, had evidently led a pretty stressful life. A driver witnessed someone tossing him from a pickup truck on I-95. That driver scooped him up and carried him to the shelter. Luckily he had no serious injuries. The local TV stations filmed him and then showed him on their local news hours. No one came to claim him.

At the time, Mr. Pop and I had recently had to love our previous little dog enough to let her go, as she was suffering from old age. After seeing this ragged little white homeless dog on TV, I called to ask if I might adopt him. My name was added to the list of others who also wanted to open their hearts and homes to him.

Weeks went by and then one day a woman from the humane society came to the place where I was working. She had a little, still ragged looking, almost white dog in tow on a leash. She led him to me and asked if I wanted to do a “test run” with him over the weekend to see if he would work out in my home.

I led him to my desk and tied his leash to my desk chair. All day he looked up at me with his big brown eyes and soft expression. I would pet him and talk to him. We were getting acquainted.

That night I drove him home and quickly gave him a shampoo. Wow, what a difference some dog soap and water can make. He stood there in the bathtub and became a swan. Murphy had a new home.

Okay sure, he chewed up one of Mr. Pop’s sandals, but other than that he was a true little gentleman and just as loveable as any little dog could be.

As the years went by and I became a fulltime spoiler of Murphy we discovered that he loved little plush pink pig toys. He loved chewing off their ears, removing their felt eyes and having fun with them. I must tell you there were some pitiful looking pigs in Murphy’s toy basket. Little veterans of Murphy’s eye removal and ear removal campaign.

Each time we went near the pet store a new pink pig accompanied us home. Murphy came to embrace the idea of a new pink pig as a grand occasion, and so did we.

One Christmas six years ago I had purchased a new pink pig to give Murphy for Christmas. I wrapped it in white tissue paper and placed it among the other gifts under the Christmas tree. A couple of days later I was in the kitchen cleaning up when I heard some noises in the living room. I peeked around the corner just in time to see Murphy finish unwrapping his gift and pulling the pink pig from the torn paper. He grabbed the pig in his mouth and came running to me as if to say, “Hey, look what I found!"

From that Christmas on I learned to never put Murphy’s presents under the tree before Christmas morning. The guy is just too impatient to wait for the grand unwrapping day.

I tell you this now because a few minutes ago I heard a strange noise in our spare bedroom. I sneaked around the corner and there was Murphy sniffing the pile of bags of presents that are waiting to be wrapped. He was sticking his nose in every bag and sniffing for his present. Ha! I caught him before he spoiled his Christmas this year.

Murphy is getting on up there in age and he has lost his hearing, but even this old dog hasn’t forgotten his Christmas trick. And thank goodness we will have at least one more Christmas morning with the gift of watching that once ragged, now professionally groomed, little white dog have a great time ripping the hell out of white tissue paper in his search for another new plush pink pig.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just a Couple of Thoughts

There is speculation that bush is going to wait until after the new year begins to state his new “way forward in Iraq” because he’s going to be sending a shitload more troops over there. I don’t know which would be worse for a military family, to know that your loved one was definitely going after the holidays or to live with the anxiety that they might. Seems to me it would be more considerate to tell them now, but I don't know what it's like to be in their position.


Each year seems fewer and fewer people are sending real paper Christmas cards. I think that’s kind of sad. Guess they are going the way of the handwritten letters that we all used to love to receive. Sure, sometimes addressing all the cards was a pain, but receiving them was an equal joy.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Making US Allies bush’s way

Some implications based on the October 2006 Lancet Study . . . the most recent study in October estimates that over 650,000 Iraqis have been killed in Iraq since the war began.

“On average, a thousand Iraqis have been violently killed every single day in the first half of 2006, with less than a tenth of them being noticed by any public surveillance mechanisms;”
“Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;”

You can read the rest here

Does anyone really believe we will have a U.S. ally in Iraq in our lifetime?

Since yesterday morning for some reason I am not able to leave comments on beta blog sites. I get a message that says I may have typed in the wrong password or that I should try later. Anyone know what is happening and why? Help would be much appreciated. I emailed blogger support about this and got the usual response. No help.
Is anyone else having this problem?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The One Person in the Way

While the president ponders all kinds of “new” ways to save his name in the history books to come, soldiers and hundreds of Iraqis continue to die. There is no timeout while he figures out a “way forward” or a "victory” or a “success” in Iraq. There’s no halting and waiting for him to find his excuse or his lie. On average this month, four soldiers and about one hundred Iraqis, at least those we’ve been told about, have been killed each day.

We don’t have time for this bullshit. It’s been almost four years since this sin began and if they haven’t found the answer by now, it’s not out there. They can consult with every damned person they like, but bottom line is there is no “silver bullet”. There is no magic formula. The only hope for success in any respect is convincing the freakin’ “decider” that our troops’ lives are worth a hell of a lot more than his legacy. His legacy is as dead as our troops who return home in wooden boxes. He is the only thing standing between our troops lives and their deaths. He is the only one who can bring our troops home. He’s the only person standing in the way.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What did you do?

This weekend we, for the most part, finished our gift shopping. The trip to the local shopping area was a pain but we did it and did it well. Apparently someone in the mob of shoppers shared their germs with me and I am feeling it this morning. Seeing the results of that Cowboys game last night doesn’t make me feel any better. Ouch!

So tell me, what did you do this weekend?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Story time With Fred the Cat

Fred the cat here. You guys should see this place. It’s all decked out for Christmas. I even have my own Christmas tree out on the patio. How cool is that? The Pops have their tree in the living room. I can lay on the patio and see both trees. Weeeee, I sure could do some damage to their tree if I could get my paws on it. Don’t think I want to go there.

Continuing with the Christmas stories, this one is for the teachers in our world, the most precious and under appreciated profession. So if you are a teacher, love a teacher, know a teacher or remember a special teacher, curl up with me and let’s read this story.

The Christmas Rhythm Band Minus Me

I grew up in a self-inflicted (by my father), financially challenged household. We never had a lot, and due to my father's drinking problem, we moved so very often, town to town, home to home, always either unpacking or packing up.

When I was in the second grade we lived in yet another rented house, and again we had little to no money. We had only been in this particular town for a short while and already the job was lost and my father had relocated to a different town. We couldn’t afford to move yet, so my mother, my sister and I were left behind for the time being.

Christmas was approaching and just like all elementary schools at that time everyone was gearing up for the big Christmas show. My teacher sent a note home to all the parents informing them that she would need about five dollars per pupil to cover the costs for the show. My class was going to be the rhythm band and we would have little outfits to wear. My mother sat me down and explained to me that there was no way that we had the money for this event. I couldn’t be in the Christmas band.

I wasn’t mortified. I was too young to feel that emotion. I was hurt. How could I not be in the Christmas band with everyone else in my class?

I had to tell my teacher that I couldn’t be in the band and I had to tell her why.

The first day of practice, all of my class was on the stage in the auditorium learning their songs as I sat out in the audience seats with my teacher. Just me. Nothing to do but watch and wish.

The next day of practice I was once again sitting there all alone except for the teachers. I just sat there. Then my teacher got up and walked over to some other teachers and they were talking. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, because I was listening to the Christmas band practicing with their shining triangles, their gorgeous big jingle bells and their pretty little wooden sticks.

My teacher came over and asked me to come with her. We went outside the auditorium and she knelt down in front of me. She told me they needed me to sing a special song for the Christmas program. She said the name of the song was “Bow Wow wants a boy for Christmas.” She wrote down the words for me and the next practice day I went up on the stage and practiced singing. To this day, I know all the words to that song.

Hey, now I was no longer sitting out there with the teachers, I felt I was the star. I had my very own song to sing. Who needs those silly triangles and bells and wooden sticks. I didn’t need any of it. I had my own special part.

Finally the night of the show arrived. I can’t remember if my Mother was there. As I sat back stage awaiting my moment in the spotlight, I felt like a million dollars. Just before it was time for me to walk through the curtains, my teacher came to me and she was carrying a little beagle puppy. She asked me if I would like to hold the little puppy while I sang my song. I mean does it get any better? Not only did I get to sing the “special” song but I would get to hold this little puppy too. Star quality and puppy breath, what a wonderful combination.

I vaguely remember singing the song and cuddling that little puppy. I vaguely remember the audience clapping. But to this day I have never forgotten that teacher and what she did for me that Christmas. Now I realize that she created that “special” song for me. She found a way to include me. She took me from loneliness to inclusion and happiness. She saw what was happening to me as I sat there watching the others participate. She probably did more for me than I have ever really realized. I don’t know what my attitude would have been had I not been given the gift of that song. Maybe it would have sowed the seeds of ill content in my little head. I don’t know. I do know that, that night I felt so very special and it was due to the thoughtfulness of my teacher. Okay, and maybe that little puppy too.

Mrs. Cantrell, if by some quirk of the internet, you should read this, please know that this adult thanks you so much for what you did for that little girl that Christmas a long time ago

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Quick Takes

While everyone in DC was all a twitter yesterday about the Iraqi Study Group’s report, while they argued over what should and should not be done because “the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating”, ten more soldiers died.

I don’t know if there is any truth to the rumor that the Iraqi Study Group put a special cover on bush’s copy of their report. Seems they replaced the original cover with a copy of the cover of “My Pet Goat” in order to get him to read it.

So Mary Cheney is expecting a baby. What are the religious Right going to do now? Since they are adamantly against same sex couples adopting children, will they demand she give up her child? Which child has the best chance to have a loving family, Mary’s or Britney Spears’?

So who do you think should be Time’s Person of the Year?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Today he opens his present from his dad

So today is the big day. Today is the day the almost famous Iraq Study Group will allow bush to open his Christmas present. He gets to see what they suggest he does to get his ass out of the fire. Will there be anything inside this beautifully wrapped present? Will it hold some magic potion that will cure his reputation here and around the globe? Will it be a magic twanger that he can wave over his problems and make them disappear like a pizza in a crowded dorm room? Will it prevent one more death in Iraq?

Don’t bet the farm on anything of consequence emerging from today’s reveal. Chances are it will be treated just like any other fairly good advice bush has received. It’ll most likely be returned to where it came from and he’ll spend the refunded money on something else.

He doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who will put on that damned ugly sweater the family gave him. He doesn’t seem like the sort of guy who would wear that sweater even if it made the family happy. No, I don’t think he’s of that ilk. He’s the type who would say, “that’s one damned ugly sweater”, toss it on the floor and then leave the family in tears.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What about Them?

What the hell has happened in our world? Here it is a precious few weeks before Christmas, or whatever day you celebrate, and those of us who enjoy parts of this holiday will feel so damned guilty if we allow ourselves to enjoy it this year. We think about all the members of the military who won’t be home with their families, the ones in the hospital with parts of their bodies missing and the hundreds of families who will be spending their first Christmas since the funeral of their loved ones.

Do those people mind if we enjoy some time with our families and our traditions? Do they give a shit what we do? I don’t know, but I do know that if I had a loved one in Iraq, the hospital, or a fresh grave, I sure as hell wouldn’t care to see the first family yucking it up at Christmas. I wouldn’t want to see the Commander-in-Chief who had sent my loved one into a war based on lies celebrating Christmas and grinning to the camera. I sure wouldn’t want to see that.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What about all that name calling?

It’s so damned frustrating to listen to the talking heads who now seem to see and hear what so many of us saw and heard before our country invaded Iraq.

Why has there been an almost four year delay from the time we got the message until they got the same message? During that delay so many people have died needlessly and so much money has been spent on that deadly endeavor.

They can dance around the truth all they like, but we were right and they were dead wrong. Bottom line is that we were not being unpatriotic, we were not being un-American and we were not consorting with the terrorists when we said NO to war. We were being realistic and we were being wise and we were right. Why doesn’t anyone mention this? Why doesn’t anyone say that we weren’t unpatriotic or un-American and we weren’t supporting terrorism? If it was so easy to say we were wrong, why can’t they say now that we were right?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hey everyone, Fred the Cat here with a plan.

For the next three or four weekends I am going to post Christmas stories that Pop wrote last year and published on another site as a contributor. Her readers there seemed to like them so I thought I would share them with you. Here’s the first one.

Christmas and the Snoopy balancing act

A couple of years ago we were invited to a Christmas party, but this one had a little twist. Instead of bringing a dish or your own adult beverage or anything like that, each party attendee was asked to bring new, unwrapped toys that would later be delivered to a local charity and they in turn would give them to children who would not be getting much for Christmas.

Oh what fun Mr. Pop and I had buying toys. You see we have no children of our own and all of our nieces and nephews are too old for children’s toys. We bought dolls and dolls and kits for boys and lots of stuff. We filled that cart right up to the top. Even when we got home and took all those treasures from their bags we just stood and smiled thinking of what the kids would feel when they received some of this fun.

The night of the party arrived. Feeling a wee bit like old Santa himself, we loaded our car with gifts and headed out. When we got to the home of the hostess we walked in and added our toys to the giant pile that had already formed. It truly was a mountain of happiness and promises. There were tricycles and stuffed animals and just about any kind of toy you can think of. Everyone was smiling with Christmas cheer and just general all around happiness.

After the party we drove home feeling that we had not only had fun at the party but we had contributed to some unknown children’s Christmas. As we rounded the corner just before our drive way we saw something. Our big plastic Snoopy Santa light-up figure was not by our front door as it was supposed to be. It was laying down in the middle of our yard. Mr. Pop pulled into the garage and I flew out of the car to see what had happened to our sweet Snoopy. Sadly I discovered that someone had batted Snoopy around and cracked him all up. He was split in the middle and on his face. I brought him inside and tried my best to sort of pop out the dents and force the cracked parts back into position. Poor Snoopy would never be the same. After I did all I could for him I decided to try plugging him in again to see if he would light up. He did.

I was so hurt and angry. Here we had been out giving presents and toys to kids in need and while we’re doing our good deed, someone had mugged Snoopy.

Being as angry as can be that some jerk enjoyed beating up a plastic Christmas decoration I wrote a letter to our local paper bitching about what had happened. The letter was published and damn it, I felt better for whatever reason.

A couple of days after my letter was published I received a small parcel in the mail. There was no return address on it so I had no idea who or where it was from. I gingerly opened the package and discovered a note along with something wrapped and taped up in bubble wrap. The note began with, “I hope this gets to the lady who wrote the letter that appeared in the paper”. The note went on to say that this person’s mother had recently passed away and as is often the case this person had had to clear out her mother’s house. When going through her mother’s possessions she had come across her mother’s Christmas decorations. In these decorations was a little porcelain Snoopy Christmas ornament. The writer said she was sure that her mother would want me to have it. She remembered the day she and her mother had purchased it.

I carefully unwrapped the little ornament and yes, I sure did cry. There was this little Snoopy wearing a Santa hat and driving a little blue car with a Christmas wreath painted on the front of the car. I knew at that moment I had to thank the person who sent the little gift. Since I had nothing but a first name and no address there was only one thing to do. I had to write another letter to the editor.

My local paper has a rule about letters to the editor. They will only publish one letter per person every thirty days. It had not been near thirty days since my last letter was published. I began my letter by acknowledging that I knew I was asking to break the rules but this was certainly cause for an exception. Then I proceeded with my letter of gratitude. The editor must have been in the spirit of the holidays because my thank-you letter was published the day before Christmas.

The big plastic Snoopy will never be outside again, but he is plugged in, lighted up and smiling and greeting anyone who enters through my front door. He hasn’t been put aside since the night he was mugged. During the rest of the year he sits proudly in our garage. The little Snoopy ornament is never packed away with the other decorations. I keep him out all year to remind myself that somehow, things always seem to balance out. For every jerk in our world who would beat up a plastic Snoopy, there is one sweet person who will share a little porcelain Snoopy. That’s a nice thing to be reminded of all year long.