Twelfth Night plus a few

I just dragged my Christmas tree out to the front porch. In the morning it will get dragged around to the back of the house, to be rabbit and bird shelter.

I try to abide by the Twelfth Night superstition of having all remnants of Christmas tucked away by midnight, but this isn’t the first year it’s been down to the wire … and then some. There are a couple of Christmas mugs to be washed, strings of lights to untangle – or not – and plenty of needles to vacuum. The ornaments are piled carefully in a box, to be sorted and individually wrapped tomorrow. I’m pretty pleased about this; one year it was July before they were plucked out of a laundry basket and properly stored.

All this was done while the dogs still were hanging out in the living room. They get crated at night, but lights flinging and a tree moving would be too exciting for the 7-month-old Lab pup, and she would have whined and banged her tail; easier to let her watch from one sleepy eye. The whole detreeing went without any interference from her.

Good thing, because she had caused enough trouble earlier in the day. I heard her gnawing under the dining table and figured she had one of the giganto bones we offered as Christmas gifts, but no – she was working away at a cross support of a maple chair leg, and had it whittled nearly through.

“No,” I shouted in a pitch rather higher than usual. “No, no, no,” grabbing the collar, giving the flank a few swats, pointing the nose at the scene of the crime.

I couldn’t believe it. The dining set is one from my childhood, and I remember abusing it back in grade school, so it comes less under the heading of heirloom or antique and more like, “pretty decent furniture we didn’t have to pay for.” And since it’s maple, it has survived long enough for my own son to rock inappropriately in the chairs. I wasn’t going to have a dog do it in.

And so it was that I sat on the floor minutes later with a pastry brush in hand, paper plate below the damage, dripping Tabasco sauce above. The pup still is a sweetie, but she offered a hefty reminder of why I’m a cat person.

This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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