Think About It: Christmas for creatures

Little is known about creatures’ Christmases. Years of observations have led me to the conclusion that creatures do indeed celebrate Christmas. There is no special meaning in the use of the term Christmas because creatures aren’t especially religious. In fact they don’t practice any sort of religion. It’s a very understandable attitude, given that they were often sacrificed on the alters of believers and they have long memories.

Yet, they know that they are an important part of the winter holidays. They are often pictured on greeting cards, mostly a snowy scene meant to convey contentment. The sentiment is lost on the deer who must forage through the snow to find the last crabapple fallen from the tree. Nobody likes a cold nose.

Their close relative Rudolph was required to lead the sleigh because his cold red nose was so bright. He wanted to stay in and warm in the sheltered woods, but no, he had to spend the foggy night flying through the sky to get Santa to all the houses.

He had to wait at each house while Santa slid down the chimney and sat by a fire drinking milk and eating cookies. Each house, Rudolph lamented, returned a heavier Santa so that by the end of the night he and all the other tired reindeer could barely raise the sleigh.

By the time Santa’s sleigh arrived back at the North Pole, Rudolph had a terrible head cold from the head winds he had to deflect. He lay down in the straw and Cupid, Vixen and Blitzen lay so their bodies were next to him and would warm him through the night.

‘Jingle Bells’

Then there is the horse that inspired the song, “Jingle Bells.” You know the one.

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.

Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.”

The horse, who happened to be named Horatio, pulled the sleigh carrying the canoodling couple.

Horatio thought it beneath his dignity to be riding through the snow with bells attached to his harness and large red ribbons braided into his mane and tail. His ancestors had fought in the Trojan War. They knew all along it was a fake horse but no one would listen.

They also served in the Civil War pulling carts that carried much-needed supplies. It was the unfortunate development of cars, trucks and trains that put Horatio in the ranks of the unemployed horses like him who can only find work pulling carts of tourists and canoodlers.

Horatio did admit that he was warmed when smiling children came up to him to pet him. He always rewarded them with a nuzzle and carried the memory back to the stable where he was always fed the best hay.

HBW Christmas Wish

Birds don’t get a lot of play at Christmas unless they are red cardinals willing to pose on the snowy evergreen branch. Truth is they hide out as much as possible given that the season’s dinners feature turkey or, worse yet, turducken.

They are well aware those popping sounds in the distance aren’t firecrackers exploding, but rather the sounds of hunters during a hunting season that coincides with the holidays.

The birds, especially quail, look for a safe haven which they’ve found at the Cooper house driveway. The man of the house spreads birdseed every morning. A strange pecking order takes place with small fearless birds starting followed by blue jays, followed by doves and ending with quail.

The woman of the house keeps the hummingbird feeder tubes filled for the hearty Anna hummingbirds who stays the winter. Of late, they have been joined by HBW — which stands for hummingbird wannabe.

HBW couldn’t be more unhummingbird. He (we later learned he was male) has a round ball-like body and short beak. He rises from a tree branch and approaches the feeder tube with determination, flaps his wings as hard as he can and sticks his beak into the hole for a nanosecond.

HBW retreats and attends the tube two more times and flies away. He returns several times each day.

Observing alpha male Anna has never seen anything like it. “What’s with this bird!” Alpha Anna makes a halfhearted effort to shoo HBW away but soon stops.

“What’s the point. He couldn’t possibly take much in a nanosecond with that stupid short tongue.”

So alpha male lets HBW stay in keeping with granting impossible wishes this holiday season.

The Coopers later learned from PDN bird columnist Joan Carson that the HBW is a ruby-crowned kinglet who has yet to learn that he’s not a hummingbird.

The night before Christmas

’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

The cat was wandering in search of a mouse.

She creeped through the halls with the greatest of care

In hopes she would catch the mouse unaware.

The mouse nestling soundly in bed

Dreaming of cheese and stale corn bread.

Knew little of cat’s mischievous trap

Alas, cat sighed and went down for a nap.

Only to wake and make such a clatter

When cat knocked over old family platter

Up from his bed, master rose in a flash

Threw open the door and looked at the crash.

He spoke not a word and went right to his work

He picked up the pieces and turned with a jerk

While cat slipped away, hoping not to be seen

’Til wreckage was gone and floor was clean.

But master found poor naughty cat

And took cat gently onto his lap,

“You’re lucky cat ’bout your Christmas slight

“’Tis time for forgiveness on this peaceful night.

Asking forgiveness from Clement Clarke Moore (1823) and wishing everyone warm holidays surrounded by caring people, enough good food, forgiveness and hoping your impossible wishes are granted in the new year.

Bertha Cooper spent her career years as a health care organization and program administrator and consultant and is a featured columnist in Sequim Gazette. Cooper has lived in Sequim with her husband for nearly 20 years. Reach her at columnists@sequimgazette.com.

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