Monday, December 17, 2012

BRINGING UP PRESTO! Christmas Special

Fifty-three Christmases ago, when Barbara and I had been married slightly more than three months, my mother gave us a beautiful top ornament for our first Christmas tree.  It was our first "special ornament."

Each year something that symbolizes what was special about the year just concluding becomes that year's special ornament.  A Greek palace guard from our visit to Athens; a steel drummer from one of our trips to Young Island, our favorite spot in the Caribbean; special ornaments given to us by our parents; the laminated cover from my first book, Remembering to Breathe; items that represent important career achievements; a stuffed dog announcing the Christmas gift that turned out to be Honeybear; and, increasingly, mementos from dog sports triumphs -- obedience for me, conformation and agility for Barbara; a special item from our 50th anniversary party.  And on and on.  Fifty-two of these memory-loaded treasures.

It should come as no surprise that 2012 has gone down as the Presto! year.  And the year of the world's most delightful competition obedience students. 

Those two happy circumstances intersected on a Saturday morning this summer.  Two of my students showed up at a lesson with a surprise "puppy shower."  Only it wasn't a shower, it was a downpour of puppy things which filled "Presto!'s first toy box."  Mostly toys but also a brush, shampoo that my little guy is still using, even a kit to record his first paw print.

The piece de resistance, though, was an almost real , nearly life-size stuffed border collie.  He's waited patiently the rest of the summer and through the fall for his turn in the lights.  And now his time has come.  Nestled up there in the branches, surrounded by lights, he represents the very best of 2012.  He's this year's special ornament.

Merry Christmas! everyone.


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