So. Apparently anal glands don't care so much about the weather. What? Too much, too soon? Probably. I also doubt my dog is thrilled that I am talking about his intimate parts with the universe (modest as he is), but there have been two constants in my life the last few days and that is a.) snow and more snow on top of that snow, and b.) my dog's rear-end. It was something of a battle between the two, when on Sunday we realized we were indeed snowed in, did not own an appropriate shovel, and our dog needed to have his poor little posterior examined immediately. (Thank you, terribly impacted and thusly exploded gland.) Sweet guy was miserable. We somehow gathered our already exhausted wills together to hike the many blocks to the Vet in knee-deep snow, dog in arms, and then back, in knee-deep snow, dog in arms, with the addition of a shiny new cone of shame. It was the kind of comedy people would pay for but no one would believe. If I had a nickel for every time some yahoo on cross country skis used the phrase, 'snow cone,' well, I'd have a lot of nickels. And then we dug our home and yard and car out of the snow as best as we could with a garden shovel, a feat which took the better part of two days, and spent the rest of our time napping in front of the fireplace, fighting over who's turn it was to wear the Wigwam socks, who's turn it was to clean the dog's behind, and consuming vast quantities of hot beverages. But through it all there was Johnny. Stumbled upon while hunting in the spare closet for clothespins. A little dusty, but I knew it was meant to be. I called my mother.
'Mom, I found your record! The Johnny Mathis Christmas album. Just wanted you to know we were listening to it.'
'Have you found the skips yet?'
'They're everywhere! But White Christmas is barely playable. '
'Oh yes. That would be my doing.'
It was December and my mother was twelve. She never wanted to leave Iowa. Never ever ever. But there they were in California, the whole family. A whole new life, cramped track home, palm trees everywhere, completely foreign. No white shingled house, no friends, no extended family, no snow, nothing but a Johnny Mathis record brought from home. She cried herself to sleep every night listening to 'White Christmas' on repeat. Her sisters still laugh about this. She had a flair for the dramatic. But I understood her completely, which might be why, some fifty years later, she gave me her precious record, scratches and all. And why on one snowy night in Portland, the eighth snowy night to be exact, I found myself listening to it, letting it skip, thinking of her, remembering to be grateful.
It's going to be a white Christmas, friends. Nine snowy days and counting.