Christmas Eve, Mama and Sweet Lorene settle on the couch like snowflakes sifting through the night, fragile, momentary and all too soon, gone.
We exchange a little money, small talk and a bit of time. There’s the inevitable pile of new socks, Wal Mart mixed nuts and assorted gift cards to be sorted through, misplaced then suddenly found.
We’ll gather the fancy bows in a giant Macy’s bag and hide the candy so as not to eat it all that instant.
There’s a little white on the ground, though a bit goes a long way now, making me more than ready for February’s false spring.
The dogs are pleased, snatching a bite from the top layer of snow while running the fence line or after playing tug of war with a misplaced bar rag.
They curl up in the old, padded chairs that sit on the back deck; peering out over the no-man’s land of our back yard, waiting for the odd movement or strange event.
At a noise they bound over the snow, wolves on the hunt, leaping and barking with fierce imagination, protectors of the domain, fearless, cunning, intimidating.
Or they would be, if only Dexter Dog wouldn’t carry that torn up bedroom slipper around in his mouth everywhere he goes.
A real wolf wouldn’t do that and the Lola Dog is disgusted with the entire turn of events. She harrumphs back to her chair, scrabbles up, curls down, then glares at the two stupid dogs with their stupid, fuzzy toy and simple smiles.
Meanwhile, the Springers, snouts glisten with the cold, they root about, then snuffle at the ice balls that cling to their warm paws, honestly oblivious, deliriously innocent and happy.