December 20, 2013
Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the joys of this festive season from here on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where I am the Chief Christmas Hound in Residence. I also hope that you are spared any Grinchiness like that of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth—the former complains about Rockefeller Center Christmas tree rubber necking tourists and the latter hurls shoes at the TV and screams at George Baily to get on that train out of Bedford Falls.
But my humans do redeem themselves where I am concerned—Maria is investigating a wide variety of expensive and delectable mystery meats from the gourmet food store that might be pleasing to the Wimsey Holiday Palate and Elizabeth has been taking me on long perambulations and has been demonstrating an even heavier hand than usual with the turkey and snacks.
My humans get these tense and determined expressions on their faces when we walk through the alleys of fir trees that line many of our streets.
Tourists, who are normally Hound loving become even more so in the presence of a Giant Hound wearing a green velvet seasonal ruff with bells on it.
My humans believe that people on the street are gullible enough to mistake me for a reindeer or an elf.
Someone has decorated the trees on 73rd street to look like candy canes creating yet another set of trees upon which I am not supposed to lift a leg.
The Christmas Fair has magically appeared for my shopping and concertizing pleasure.
Snow has arrived and with it the tantalizing prospect of sending my humans on a holiday trip to the Emergency Room.
The lobby of Elizabeth’s building is so dense with delivered packages that it looks (as Maria observed) as if a UPS truck exploded.
I get to do whatever I want and to have whatever I ask for. (That’s not technically a sign of Christmas since this is always the case, but it never hurts to point it out).
Well it’s been a wonderful week around here in spite of the afore-mentioned attacks of human Grinchiness. We had some snow and Elizabeth and I have been taking picture postcard beautiful walks in Central Park in the afternoons. I greatly enjoy tracking all the human and canine footprints back and forth over hill and dale which, in a less beautiful setting, would make Elizabeth wish that she was carrying a flask of gin instead of my water. Fortunately the sentiments of the season call for peace on earth and goodwill towards Hounds so back and forth we pointlessly (at least to her) go. I also greatly enjoy rolling around in the white stuff, especially when I am wearing a coat as this rather defeats its purpose.
But of course into every life a little rain must fall and in my case Santa is bringing me my own personal lump of coal in the form of an expensive, new winter coat from Chilly Dog in Canada. My humans have gotten tired of wrestling my legs into the armholes of my current selection of coats (and all the turkey feeding required thereof) and the Chilly Dog coat has a flap that goes under the belly and is secured with clasps on top of the coat. Elizabeth, my Keeper of the Closet, has been in urgent discussions with the company as to my majestic proportions, my deep chest (necessary for producing bays of ear splitting decibel levels) and the unusual amount of coat- defeating large skin folds with which we bloodhounds are so generously endowed; no one is betting the farm (or the apartment) that this thing is going to fit, but fortunately it is returnable providing it has only been tried on and my humans can de-hair it sufficiently. And as every car rental company in America knows, if there is one thing that my humans are good at, it is removing my hair from places that my hair should not be. Which is to say everywhere. Of course all this assumes that even without leg holes we won’t have rollicking games of Catch Me if You Can when it comes time to suit up.
And as many of you will have guessed, my second lump of coal is the fact that an array of seasonal headgear has once again made its annual appearance. This seems to delight everyone except for me. There is some compensatory extra attention that accrues to a Hound in headgear and there is also an inexhaustible supply of bribing turkey to make it all possible but I still fail to see the point.
Of course I fail to see the point of most things that my humans want me to do or not do and I am naturally very good about raising objections which seems to delight everyone except my humans. You will notice that the only picture of me in a Santa hat is one that was taken a few years ago—it took my humans two hours to get that picture so they retired the Santa hat and recycle the picture every year.
And yesterday was a one of those glorious days when Elizabeth and I were out and about for a solid three hours of Houndly fun. Being in fine voice, I stopped by to wish the 77th Street pedicab guys an enthusiastic Merry Christmas and then was able to find a particularly icy path over which to tow Elizabeth. Next we hung out by Belvedere Castle where I held court and posed for pictures before heading into the Ramble for some snow rolling and more meeting and greeting and trying to entice various other canines to play with me—even the full sized ones who I usually ignore in favor of the little guys who flee in terror at the sight (and sound) of me. Then after a minor skirmish (that I won) over which direction we should walk we ended up at the Great Lawn where I tried to steal a ball from a lovely Doberman girl, thus even more conclusively demonstrating to Elizabeth that brains and judgment are not my strong suits. Fortunately the Dobie was a very mellow girl (and she wouldn’t play with me either) but I managed to charm her human out of a cookie that I promptly spat out mortifying Elizabeth.
Then, after another minor skirmish over our direction (in which I also triumphed) we headed out of the park and over to a pet shop that was conveniently located en route to visit my friend, The Broadway Jewelry Lady Who Feeds Me Snacks. I engaged in some acoustically robust baying which attracted a steady stream of admirers who wished to pet me, photograph me and hear all about me. I then looked in at Lush Cosmetics, where I am a popular (and well fed) visitor and finally, slightly more than three hours after leaving my apartment, I was face first in a large bowl of boiled chicken, yams, pumpkin and kibble over at Elizabeth’s.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth alerted Maria to the fact that since I had such a long and busy day I would probably want a lengthy nap so she shouldn’t plan on picking me up after work. Not a bit of it! A two-hour kip and I was off to try to break into the cat hospital. What can I say, the season inspires me.
Anyway, as I discussed last week, we have our Christmas traditions and one of these is the reposting of my Night Before Christmas. So without further ado:
Wimsey’s Night before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Hound.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there before the Hound could shred them.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Hounds danced in their heads.
And mamma in her shredded ‘kerchief, and I in my chewed up cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap with the Hound.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what the Hound had gotten into now.
Away to the window I flew—stepping over the Hound-- like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen yellow snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer being chased by a Hound.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick (he had to be to get away from the Hound),
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than Hounds his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall where the Hound can’t get to us!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As peed on leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew away from the Hound,
With the sleigh full of rawhides, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof and a lot of loud baying.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a Hound.
He was dressed all in fur (The Hound thought he was a stuffed toy), from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot and drool.
A bundle of rawhides he had flung on his back trying to keep it from the Hound,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled as he looked at the Hound! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as yellow as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth to keep the Hound from stealing it,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed at the Hound, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself and the fact that the Hound had stolen his hat!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread (I live with a Hound, what more is there to dread).
He spoke not a word—he was speechless--, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk as the Hound poked him in the tush.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose as the Hound chased him!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, let’s get away from that giant smelly dog
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle after a Hound has sneezed on it.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to the Hound a good-night!" (and good riddance!)
So a Happy Christmas to you all as well. And let’s all come together to ban these heinous antlers once and for all!
Well I think I will leave it there for this week. It’s a good thing that Santa is apparently a Hound lover and doesn’t care whether Hounds have been naughty or nice. If he did we’d be screwed! Merry Christmas Everyone!
Until next time,
Wimsey, Santa’s favorite present-stealing elf