Vail Daily column: The gifts of glitter, floof dogs
Lots of themes suggest themselves today.
Commercial glitter. Santa’s wink. Family time. Religious reflection.
Excitement, happiness, anticipation, gratitude, generosity, goodwill, exaltation, joy, awe.
And relief. All the presents bought and wrapped. Expectations met, more or less, but who cares, really? Everyone who is supposed to be here is here if we’re fortunate, and in spirit and cherished memories if not. Santa’s work is done. A great ski day is on tap. Let us pray, if you are so inclined.
This is a “supposed to” day, which can make it harder for some. You are supposed to feel certain things, thank everyone, be with certain people, think the right thoughts.
No problem for most of us. I am lucky enough to feel and think the way I’m supposed to, for the most part. Life’s not perfect, after all. Hah, I’m far from it myself, the flawed protagonist in my life, as you are in yours.
At least I no longer have to get up before dawn while the young ’uns howl and bounce on the bed. I still have a dim memory of howling and bouncing on my parents’ bed, puzzled by their groans and distinct lack of enthusiasm on this of all mornings. And soon enough in the future, revenge: Little ones howling and bouncing on my kids’ beds.
No, I get up early every morning now, including Christmas, for a whole different reason. For this, I’m weirdly grateful to two little, little dogs my wife brought home to help out a friend who could no longer take care of them. Papillons, purebred, a purse dog and her “big” brother, who is anything but.
They’re everything we’re not, basically. My daughter takes a special cruel pleasure in making me walk the purse dog at rest areas during trips, especially if truck drivers happen to be around.
Here’s the deal: My wife enjoys the warm glow of her good deed. I get up to let the floofies out and before dawn, always, they must be fed. At least they carry on so, and I catch a sharp elbow if I’m slow to answer the call.
So the canines have delivered discipline, a gift I now cherish (if not so much at 5:30 a.m.). Consistently getting up an hour earlier has allowed me to work on other projects besides the day job, which enriches my life and I think makes me better at work, too. I definitely feel more fulfilled.
Not that I’ll stop growling about getting up, mind you. But it turns out the floofies do have purpose. Not like I was doing this on my own.
I guess I really ought to stop making jokes about the very existence of fluff dogs. All of God’s creatures and so forth. It’s like by now, I’m just biting the paw …
They’ll rouse me with their clatter on the big day, too, if just long enough to feed them before extending my long winter’s nap just a little longer, maybe even till the sun’s up.
Christmas in this country transcends religion, obviously, and not in the cheap way commercialism suggests. The tree, its roots in pagan faith predating Christ, offers a clue here. I don’t see it as Christianity ripping off or building upon prior religious ground. Jews, Muslims, Hindis, Buddhists in America put up their trees, too. As do agnostics and atheists.
No, Christmas does not belong to the Christians. It’s bigger than that. Secularization has rendered only a surface crassness. I think there’s a deeper play here below the glitter, in part because of the glitter, a sort of spiritual loss leader.
I guess I’m saying glitter matters. Through it, we share some habits of giving, of joy and goodwill, which won’t rub off easily. We come together just a bit more as a country, as a community, as people, me and you.
We think for a moment about what brings us together, what we share in common, maybe even why we’re here in the first place.
I’m not religious, but I do wind up thinking on this day about the birth story of Jesus and with that the concepts of promise and purpose.
Under such influence, I’m even thankful for the gift those ridiculous bat-eared floofies gave me. Just don’t ask me to admit this out loud. My daughter would never let me hear the end of it.
Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 970-748-2920.