Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day, and Dinner.

We had a lot of fun today. It started with our morning coffee, exchanging gifts and laughing at our male dog, who feels it is his job to help unwrap gifts. He will stand on his hind legs, front paws on the chair, looking eagerly at us, asking to begin. We rip an edge loose, give him the ok, and he will leap backwards, paper in mouth, tearing a huge strip off, which he then rips into smaller and smaller pieces, until the carpet is covered with paper snow, and we are engulfed in helpless giggles. Each time he gets the piece of paper reduced to some satisfyingly small bits, he comes back wanting to begin again.

I grew up in a household where dogs weren't even allowed into the livingroom, and behavior of this sort would have been considered very bad form. The first time our little dog stood up looking to get in on the ripping action, and my spouse offered him an edge to rip, I said, "Oh, don't let him do that!"

They looked at me, mystified, and asked, "Why not?" I replied something about how he'd start ripping up newspapers and other papers. My spouse said firmly that the dog was perfectly aware of which papers were made to rip and which weren't, and they'd prove it to me.

A newspaper was fetched, and edge of it offered to the dog. The dog sniffed it, looked at him, and shoved the newspaper aside, looking for wrapping paper beneath it. They offered him a few sheets of  computer paper - same result, he had no interest whatsoever, he wanted some more of that stuff we got to rip. To this day, he has never ripped anything but wrapping paper. I have always considered dogs quite a bit more intelligent than most people give them credit for, but that surprised even me.

After coffee and gifts, we did a few hours of relaxed packing. All the pictures are down from the walls, the decorative bowls, etc, vanished into boxes. The house begins to feel as if we really are going in six days.

Then we got cleaned up, cooked our contribution to the dinner, and off we went to the Alano Club. It was wonderful; I enjoyed myself hugely. I ran into a few folks I haven't seen in a while, and  received some great warm affectionate hugs. I had serious and silly conversations, ate until I couldn't eat another bite, and felt at peace and so blessed.

I went out to visit the two huge dogs hanging out on the back deck with the smokers. I've gotten so accustomed to 10 & 20 pound dogs, that I'd forgotten just how big an 80 pound dog is. One of them mashed her huge head into my thigh and wagged her entire body while I gently whacked her sides with open hands - she was pushing so hard she made me stagger backwards a bit. I adore big ol' friendly dogs.  I think it's one of life's greatest pleasures to share some affection with a trusting dog, to whom I may be a complete stranger, but who senses my devotion for them, and in turn, is delighted to have a mutual admiration moment with me.

At one point in the evening, I sat at our table, gazing around the room, thinking about how almost everyone in the room, had received the precious gift of sobriety through the Twelve Steps of this amazing and life-changing program. People who might, in the ordinary course of life, never spend time together, were gathered this evening in celebration not only of the holiday, but also for having been given a second chance at life. When the grace was said by an AA member before the meal, there was a resounding, heartfelt "A-men" that resonated in my chest.

Keep coming back, it works.

1 comment:

  1. Taking cues from our dogs is a worthwhile thing. I can imagine that the day at the club was really nice. We were glad to have a few folks come by here for a Christmas buffet. I like the tradition that we are starting. It feels good.