I hear from friends and relatives that they give gifts to their pets for Christmas. Most of them even rolled them up so the dog or cat could cut out the paper, which I thought was a bad idea. Next thing you know your pet will tear open people’s packages too, just in case there’s a dog toy inside.
My pets were also remembered for Christmas, but their gifts were gifts. My indoor cats, Car-E, Cruella, and Barn-E got some extra rewards, as did my dog Sunny. They seemed happy about it, although they asked for more as usual.
Barn cats got a very large portion of canned cat food, along with their food. I probably overeat Christmas breakfast because there were leftovers, which never happened.
Even my three chickens got a special treat. They got bits of bread and some grapes, too. They both seemed happy and quickly did a little pampering for the day.
Christmas dinner for us humans was provided by my sister-in-law, Jenny. None of us had to cook. We just warmed up a holiday meal we bought at a deli at Don’s Market in Seymour. It was the perfect size for us and two others. Rebecca and Andy had plans to join us too – the big family get-together is scheduled for January.
The strange thing is that early on Christmas morning, after a video chat with the grandchildren and seeing what was under their tree, I felt I had to cook.
During every other holiday, I had at least some bread to bake to add to my meal. This time nothing else was needed. All I had to do was remove the cards and papers from the kitchen table before the guests came. The cookies were baked days ago.
It was half past ten when everyone arrived, so we had plenty of time to visit. Rebecca and Andy take turns holding Barn E in an attempt to convince him that they are friends.
All my cats think I’m the only one in the world. They are still suspicious of visitors, even those with bonuses. They usually head into the hills or under the sofa to hide from everyone else. On Christmas Day, they went out to check on the newcomers, even if they had no intention of making friends with them.
About half past eleven, Rebecca began to heat up our meal. One by one, the ham, potatoes, and green bean salad went into the microwave to turn up the temperature. It wasn’t done as fast as I could because my device is on the weaker side.
As the food warmed, I stacked plates and silverware in a pile on the table, counting so we wouldn’t run short.
Andy pulled the table away from the wall, before picking up the dishes. “Does anyone else come to eat with us?” He asked, a puzzled look on his face.
I said “No, it’s just us”.
“Well, there are places for five here and a chair against the wall.” Andy raised the extra plank.
Now, how did you do that? I wonder. I soon realized what I had done. I accidentally added a setting for Bob.
When company came in past I always started calculating the place settings at two for Bob and I and then adding up the number of guests coming to the table. That’s exactly what I did on Christmas Day.
I know some people include a seat at a feast for a loved one who has passed away, but that was never our habit. The extras were put away, but I think Bob still joined us for our meal.
I haven’t done this before in the two years since Bob’s death. This verb stays with me, which is why I’m sharing it here today.
Wishing everyone a healthy New Year filled with good memories for your loved ones and perhaps an extra place reserved for them at the table.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Road, Seymour, WI 54165; email@example.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.