Kickass, the doorstop dog, pauses on this Christmas Day to paw through a few memories with the keeper. The keeper goes first: A cold backseat ride in a rattling old Model A Ford through a brittle, star-lite night from Grandma and Grandma Helgeland’s farmhouse, after lutefisk and lefse and gift exchange, heading toward the home farm, legs covered with an old Army blanket, in the company of a younger sister and brother who were so pitifully naïve they tried to look through the frost covered car windows for any sign of Santa’s sleigh soaring through the stars, and in the end, envying the believers their naiveté. And the next day, the raucous gathering with the Stokes clan where Uncle Alvin in his ragged Santa suit came stumbling into the house to kiss the aunts and insult the uncles and load the kids with wide-eyed awe. In farm communities, cows rule and so the excitement had to end in the late afternoon and that brought on such a letdown that late in the afternoon of Christmas day fragments of that remembered regret remain to this day.
Following the keeper’s lament, Kickass, if he could express it, might remember sharing a bowl of warm milk with his litter mates, after his mother apparently decided that Christmas had suckled enough out of her and it was time to move on.
So Kickass and the keeper—and Phyllis, wish everyone a Merry Christmas and may your memories be as classy as theirs.