Christmas dog was answer to a quiet prayer

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“I tried to flush the fruitcake my Aunt Viola gave me.”

“Your aunt will be unhappy.”

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“Maybe so, but the plumber was thrilled.”

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: I wish you each enough this Christmas.

The Christmas play

I can count on the same kind of things at the Christmas program each year. One young person on stage will wave constantly at family. Another will cry. There will be a misbehaving sound system. It’s better if it utters an irritating hum instead of an ear-piercing squeal. There will be laughter at the wrong time — if laughter can be at the wrong time. At the end of the festivities, I will say, “Nice program. I think it was even better than last year’s.”

It’s the thought

I asked a friend, Dennis Distad of Albert Lea, what he was giving me for Christmas.

He replied, “Remember what I gave you last year? I’m giving you a pair of them this year.”

I was excited until I remembered that he didn’t give me anything last year.

Christmas puppy

We had a cattle dog — a fine and noble beast — but I wanted a dog of my very own. When I said my prayers at night, I began each by asking for a dog, moved onto requesting blessings for others by name, and then ended with another wish for a dog. I’d heard Saint Ignatius advocated praying by saying a single word between one breath and another. I tried that. I got the world”s greatest dog — Rex. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing, but I think my parents heard me.

All she didn’t want

The woman told me that she had finished her shopping and she hoped that her family hadn’t spent too much money on her. “I hope they don”t give me gloves this Christmas,” she said.

“You don’t like gloves? You prefer cold hands?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “I lose gloves.”

From the comics

This from Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes, “Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously?”

Nature notes

I was doing a 12-hour bell-ringing marathon for the Salvation Army. It was a joyous triathlon — ringing, smiling, and saying “Merry Christmas” and “Thank you.” It was cold, enough to necessitate the stamping of feet and the thinking of warm thoughts. A bald eagle flew overhead. It warmed my spirits and gladdened my heart. It was a day to rejoice in simple miracles—the flight of a bird brought back from the brink of extinction and the generosity of good people.

Nature notes too

Birds typically migrate to find food. Many songbirds that eat insects fly south to locate food. Cardinals eat seeds and stay here because they can find seeds all year. They have thick, strong bills to open seeds. Seeds and fruits comprise 90 percent of the cardinal’s winter diet.