Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Christmas Eve in the Boondocks

December 29, 2009

Sherry and I had to be sure that all of our fifteen adopted dogs were inside or out, according to their capacity for eating furniture and their widely varying degrees of housebroken-ness.

Once that was taken care of, we put on our light jackets and headed across the road, having already taken our carry-in contributions over in the car, to reduce spillage and preclude attacks by chickens, dogs and goats along the way. Our destination was our niece’s and nephew’s house, the Newlands, which is – literally — across the road. It was Christmas Eve, 2009, in rural, Middle Tennessee.

Our jointly-owned guardian of the immediate neighborhood, Fozzie Bear, a 120-pound Great Pyrenees, head-bumped and shoved us around, often galloping ahead and back to us. Laughing with his whole, white furry body, he steered us safely across our dead-end county road.

The pygmy goats and chickens scattered as we walked down the long driveway at Newlands’ Ark, gently encouraged by Fozzie to clear a path. Rabbit and coon hounds howled from their pens in the back yard. Nobody sneaks up on this place.

The Newlands’ inside dogs, a Chihuahua and a Boston Terrier, came bouncing out to meet us. The cellular tower next door winked its safety beacons festively, looking like a long, slim, galvanized steel Christmas tree. So nice of Sprint and AT&T to get in the holiday mood.

It was family Christmas in the hills — loud, delicious and fun. Extended family, friends, and friends of friends were there, with their children, and probably some of their friends. We exchanged some modest presents, and watched the kids open theirs, and grazed the impromptu buffet. Hugs were swapped, old grudges forgotten, and Sherry and I sat or stood around and let the warm, friendly atmosphere wash over us. As enjoyable as it was, we were a little celebration-weary after about two hours.

Even with all our dogs, home is quieter than this large gathering had become, and we’re not much used to crowds – even friendly ones. We glanced at each other a couple of times, and both of us knew we were looking forward to being back across the road, with our feet up, celebrating our own, quiet, Christmas Eve. We gathered up our jackets, and wished everybody Merry Christmas, above the din of kids and TV, getting a chorus of responses as we stepped outside.

We walked past the few parked cars left in the driveway, picked up a Great Pyrenees escort, peeled off a couple curious goats and sent them running back home, and crossed the road to relative peace and quiet. It was still just cool and a little damp. We had been spared the winter storms that were making news elsewhere in the country, which was fine with us. The Newlands’ dogs and chickens settled down a bit as we got farther away, and our dogs came to the fence to greet us.

Home for Christmas.