For a writing exercise, I was asked to take a common saying like, “Silence is golden,” or, “You’re never too old to learn,” and write a little something about it. I chose, from my Grandfather’s repertoire of sayings, “Pretty as a speckled pup,” as in, “She’s as pretty as a speckled pup.”
As Pretty as A Speckled Pup
often enough to etch it in my brain.
in front of her mom and dad.
but to be discovered.
to ask him to bop.
because he was young.
because he’d grown old.
of its former self.
with reds still red.
by a just right sun.
but I didn’t slow down.
glowed warmer, brighter,
flowed swifter, purer,
washed kinder, fresher,
shushing of cheek against cheek.
and see each other.
Dwight had a Weimaraner named Heidi and a parakeet, Gabby.
JFK increased the national debt with his menagerie of dogs, puppies, cats, canaries, parakeets and ponies. Oh, yes, John-John and Carolyn also herded hamsters and rounded up rabbits but drew the line at lions, tigers and bears.
Lovebirds billed and cooed in LBJ’s White House. Hamsters burrowed there too. Hamsters bred fast during Camelot and couldn’t all be rounded up after JFK’s time as the tenant. They say even now on a quiet night you can hear hamsters in the walls of the White House. LBJ was most infamous for the beagle that he lifted up by the ears for photographers because, well, just because, he could.
Nixon had four dogs. One, emperially, named King Timahoe. The most famous dog was Checkers, who never lived in the White House. Nixon’s speech, in which Checkers was mentioned, is one of the most famous in politics and showed Nixon at his best. Listen to a little of it… http://presidentialpetmuseum.com/bl…/richard-nixon-checkers/.
The Fraser’s are adopted. Scotch Pines moved on. Even those common Balsam Firs found a home.
We arrived, all trussed, stacked, and packed on top of each other. Most of us had never seen a variety other than our own before and only a few ever knew there was more than one kind of Christmas tree. I was trunk to trunk with one of those uppity Douglas Firs but after that ride on the flatbed truck we half-way liked one another.
We Blues, were the only Spruces. I think that is why they put us at the front of the lot. No one could see any of the other trees without walking, first, by us. My guess is that we were the most expensive and, after seeing us, no one minded shelling out an extra ten or twenty bucks for the best.
When we arrived the week before Thanksgiving, the weather was warm and not many people were interested in us. We just leaned against the display or stood up right with a spike in our trunk. The snow started falling and temperatures started dropping and then, one weekend, half the trees on the lot were gone. Gone….tied to car tops, stuffed in mini vans, corralled in trunks. An old woman, from the apartments across the street, pushed a shopping cart onto the lot and one of my brothers suffered the indignity of being hauled off in that thing.
Half the lot was gone and I was one of the three spruces that remained. Most of our kind had been hauled away. I was proud that we were being snapped up more quickly than any other variety. I was nervous that no one wanted me. As the number dwindled, I yelled over to the last spruce, besides myself, in the spruce section, “Hey, do I look OK?” I was worried that needles were falling, a limb was disfigured on that truck ride or, maybe, there were some thin branches that let people look right through me. She said, “You look fine.”
As she was carried away on the shoulders of some man about thirty, with two admiring pre-schoolers and his toque headed wife in yoga pants, the last Spruce whispered when she brushed against me on her way to the SUV, “Take a look at your reflection in the window over there honey. I just couldn’t tell you.”
For the next few days, all of the Pines and Firs moved out, until I was the last tree on the lot, I had plenty of time to examine myself in the window. I was ugly. That’s why the Balsams snickered when they were hauled past.
My bottom right branch hangs six inches below the lowest branch on my left side. I am not symmetrical and that’s what we Blue Spruces are known for. Right in the middle of me there is a hole so big that a Red-tailed hawk could fly through. Maybe the worst part, is the branches at the top of me are so confused there is no place to hang the star.
So on this morning — too warm for Christmas — with snow melting into dirty slush— this lonely Christmas morning— propped up— and unwanted—- this guy in a gray Fedora, driving a blue Volvo, snatches me off the display. He pulls a hundred dollar bill out of his wallet and slips it in the mail slot under a sign that says, “any donation appreciated. The remaining trees are unwanted.”