Dusting the Cat (a Christmas story)

So it was white alright, just not quite Christmas when this merry little tale began to wag. It was in fact the night before the night before. ‘Twas upon the eve of Eve that all through the house of us the ruckus ran amuck. There would be no silent night for mine as strange things were afoot and also at hand in our not quite wonder winterland.

My husband in skivvies and me with my nightcap were settling down for the eve. Little did we either know what soon I would believe. While sipping my nightcap of coffee, Hubby slowly slipped under sleep. Sweet in blissful ignorance, unaware of my forthcoming plight, I sipped my nightcap of coffee unsuccessfully defying the night.

Soon the moon and its night overcame me and I too fell softly to sleep. I slept and I slumbered and I slumbered some more, I slept and I slumbered till quarter of four. And then fitfully, and tossfully and turnfully more, I finally awoke at a quarter past more.

Having come to terms with the fact of the matter, I arose from my bed to make peace with my bladder. Together we walked, my bladder and I, until we were stopped, stunned, hallified. For there in the hall on the floor lay before us a blanket of fluffery powderish white. It had snowed in the house sometime during the night!

In the twink of my eye the cat dashed into sight. She was all tweaked and freaky and just not quite right. Our cat was black, but this cat was white. Had it snowed on the cat? Could this also be so? Every place that I looked I saw snow, snow and snow. It was on the chair and the bookshelf, the VCR and the table. It had snowed every so, any so where it was able!

And why was I leaning? Or was it the tree? Maybe if I stood crooked, one leggedly? My now slanty tree was naked to boot, but for one patch of ornaments hung motleyfied in a crew. The rest of the ornaments were missing or broken. Like last year’s forgottables they lay strewn on the floor, hither by my feet and yon thither, by the door. They had been dashed, crashed, and gleefully smashed. There were wooden sleds and angels with wings, Santa Claus heads and all Christmassy things. In between there poked shards of Christmas ball glass, colorful, shiny, and sharp, but Alas! There in the snow, amidst the fallen décor were one tiny, two tiny, many footprints more.

Pitter pattering frantically about in my head, I knew I’d need faith to believe where they led! ‘Twas an obvious conclusion, anyone would agree. This gremlin was no little monster indeed. He was just a bad little beady eyed seed, a renegade Elf out for Grinch infamy. I would track this imp down and give ‘im a go. Some Who was gonna have to clean up this snow!

I followed the footprints leading straight to the kitchen. This bad little dude was on a munchable mission. Onward ho, ho, ho he did hungrily go, on a hunt for some yummy to mum his rumatum tummy. Perhaps he was hankering for something gooey, crumby, or gummy. Mayhaps a simple bean of jelly, or sugarplums fair and goopy, or maybelly even something just a wee bit more soupy.

Yes, this elf was a cheffy little snoop… he had even tried to make some onion soup. He had tried to make soup, with a knife or three. He had tried to make soup on a plate. He had tried to make soup with no water. He had tried to make soup, but wait… with such short little knobby kneed leggies, how had he reached all of these?

He had reached all of these atop a tiny pink stool. He had reached all of these and more. He had reached lots and lots of sugar, which he sprinkled and poured galore. He had reached hills and mountains of flour. It was in heaps upon the floor. The flour and sugar abounded! They were every so, any so where! Any so, every so, just like the snow. And so…

Ever so slowly I was dawned upon. Ever so slowly I knew. My house had been snowed in with dry goods. Why hadn’t I had a clue? I had been dumbfounded and done in by a snoopy soupy duper indeed. And so indeedidly I decided I would hunt this dudeling down. I would search from Pole to Pole or at least from town to town. I would find this messy little marvel and force him to clean up my home, and then I would dip him in Mod Podge and make him a shiny yard gnome.

I fervently followed the elvish tracks on out and over and around. Powdery poufs and sticky sweet patches were all that remained to be found. Until, the path abruptly stopped. I had followed, and it had led to the little bitty foot of my baby girl’s bed. It had pittered and pattered and petered out here.

Had he snowed on her too? Had he snowed on my pink chubby cheeked Lindsey Lou? The answer was yes… but there was much more! He poured a mountain of flour in her nightstand drawer. There was sugar on top just like pretty please, but then the truth struck me and wobbled my knees.

Just who was this Who I was bound to discover? I now knew quite who it was not. This were no holiday elf, of that I was certain indeed. T’was no Santa’s helper gone bad. There would be no pointy shoes and there would be no pointy hat. For I had finally found the fiend what scared the dickens out of the cat. Here lay the ghost of the future, the present, and the past.

The ghost of the future jeered at me. Leering, she eerily chanted, “More, more, more of the same! Many more, many more years of the same!” My bones rattled as I pondered the merry scariness of life. Then merrier than scary the piggytailed ghost of the past popped by. She jingle jangle sing sang to me, “See me, see me? I’m you when you were two, too!”

Perhaps what goes around does come around, like peace and joy and bread on the water. Bread is made of flour, and I guess flour comes back around too. Who knew? Perhaps these ghosts were trying to flag me a warning. Hide the scissors. Get rid of the matches. And never leave soap by the fish tank alone. Check, check, check. Check, check, checkin’ it twice.

But where was the ghost of the present? Why hadn’t she come tonight? And then, ever so slightly, I saw the glimmer of a heavenly light. The ghost of the present is an angel it seems. She is an angel that haunts your cheek when your baby kisses it and then falls asleep. She warms empty arms even after snuggly hugs are gone. She softens your heart and makes everything all right just to see that she’s safe after one long night of knives and pointy shards of ornament glass and a really bad plate of soup. Here with her halo perched sideways on her beautiful beddyhair head, was my very own angel. My very own Lindsey Lou Who.

Hark, the angel snores a blustery chorus of happy snowfilled houses and of soup that warms both heart and soul and of Christmas trees decorated her way, just so… and of white kitties that used to be black and run really, really fast when they’re under attack.
I looked at her there, with flour all in her hair. Sugar was plum tuckered. So I tucked her in and kissed her sweet eskimoed nose. I dusted the cat and turned off the light, and nothing there stirred for the rest of the night.

Well, that is except for my bladder, you see, I forgot through it all to go for a pee.

Lindsey Lou Who (thirteen years later) :)

Secrets in the Kitchen

The kitchen is my battleground.  I whack meats, I grate things, I slice and shred and boil to the death, carving meals out of icy mounds and body parts and things ripped from the dirt.  I go out, and I bring dead and dying things back.  To the kitchen.  To finish them off with a little garnish on the side and some cheese on top.  And when I’m in the kitchen, doing these things, I like to be alone.

I’ve suffered guilt for not wanting or allowing my children to be in the kitchen with me.  Maybe it started out as a safety issue and then just grew from there.  Maybe, no matter where I’ve lived, the kitchens have always been small.  Maybe when I’m home from work and have to start cooking right away, I’m still “processing” my day.  I don’t know, I just know that I like to be unencumbered when I’m engaged in warfare.

So last night, standing just within the battle line, my teenage daughter tells me a secret. Over the roar of the blazing fire, knives glinting in the setting sun, vegetables dismembered and sorted, she tells me her secret.

Looking back, I realize that I had asked her to come in, right in to the middle of the fray.  I had asked her to take the bleeding meat out of the package it was in and wrap it carefully and place half in the freezer and half in the refrigerator, battles for another day.  She liked the raw bleeding meat, to hold it in her hands, she was a part of my world.

And now, I am a part of hers.  Both of us, the spoils of war.