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Posted: December 24, 2010 6:00 a.m.

Kittens a welcome Yule distraction

"T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."

Except that’s not true this year at our house.

On the night before Christmas, this house was alive

With cats racing, wrestling and taking a dive.

To the rafters they jumped, then slid down the stairs

Knocked over the greenery, then hid in their lairs.

Sonny was cowed, closed his eyes and sought cover.

They’d invaded his home and almost took over.

The floor it was littered with cat’s tiny playthings

Watch your step, and if not, you’ll trip and get dinged.

Nothing was safe, neither tables nor couches,

Try to stop them, you’d lose – tiny claws make for ouches!

There’s no peace in this place, as they race room to room,

Tussling and snarling and chasing the broom.

This year there’s no tree hung with tinsel and lights,

Warned as we were that cats climb the heights.

With no tree in the corner, there’re no packages either,

The cats shred the paper, so why would we bother?

The place is a mess, our peace has been shattered.

What we’ve learned, however, is what does it matter?

When they finally stop and curl in our laps,

Their purrs will begin and they’ll take a long nap.

At last there’ll be peace and goodwill unto men.

We’ll bask in the warmth and hear not a din

Of racing and rustling and wrestling again.

The meaning of Christmas becomes crisp and clear,

The giving and getting of love, oh so dear."

 

The distraction of new kittens at this Christmas season has been a welcome diversion from the time that might have been spent stewing and fretting fulltime on the shape of local, state and world affairs.

Lord knows, there’s enough to stew about. With heart-rending needs surrounding us and wary of what’s to come in the New Year, keeping close to home has never felt more right.

Anecdotal research has convinced me that more of us planned simpler celebrations, chose smaller and more personal gifts and realized the most important things about this season this year. It’s holding tight; it’s holding on; it’s clinging to each other; it’s taking care of each other.

If we don’t, who will? Over-arching expectations that marked previous Christmases have given way to reality-based thinking. Illusion has no place at the hearthside this year.

Getting real and staying real will define us in the New Year. In many ways, we’ve learned that there is no Santa Claus who’s going to climb down the chimney and deliver our fondest wishes. That job belongs to us now.

 

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