Sunday, November 14, 2010
Risky Whippet Christmas
If you’re tuning in this week to find out about The Running Dream, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I’ve got something else on my mind. Christmas cards. Or, really, holiday pictures and the long standing tradition of tension and tears that invariably accompany the taking thereof. It’s in similar territory as the Christmas tree, which is a romanticized icon disguising its true identity—a big bushy pine tree that takes over a great area of your house and sheds needles and demands water and, on occasion, harbors bats. Yes bats. (Or, if you’re lucky, simply ladybugs.) Yes, the Christmas tree fools you into believing it’s a lovely, fragrant presence, so you return to that memory each year. And when it’s standing and all decorated you do forget that between the time you loaded it in (or on) the van and the time you stood back to admire it fully trimmed, there was a lot of yelling and lifting and turning and missing the hole in the stand and spilling water and crookedness. Much, much discussion of crookedness. Oh. And the hiding of the Bald Spot. Honestly. Who picked this tree? But back to the card, which, of course precedes the tree, and, if you’re going for a family picture it takes some doing and planning and, in my case, convincing males that shorts don’t really go with the theme this year. Add to that the complication of dogs and you have a pretty good idea of how I spent my morning. We do have some nice Christmas pictures of our sons and the dogs, but all six of us? It’s never really worked out. There’s lots of advice throwing regarding getting the dogs to behave or look in a certain direction, and in the past we’ve just said, Forget the dogs, and shooed them away to chase down lizards, or avocados, or whatever. But this year the dogs (Bongo and Jazz, our whippets) were a must. Why? Because we’ve finished our “family band” EP and the name we’re using is “Risky Whippet,” and since we’re mailing EPs out in our Christmas card and there’s a picture of one of the dogs (Bongo, if you must know) on the cover, it will make a lot more sense to the recipients if there’s some connection between the EP and the person sending the card. It does take a little clarification, too, because most people don’t know that we have a band. It’s not something we really talk about outside the sphere of people who already know about it. For one thing, it sounds ridiculous. Or people think it’s cute. You play in a band with your kids? (Or, gag, parents?) Or they go, Oh, you’re like the Partridge Family, how cute! And we’re like, Uh, maybe the Partridge Family meets AC/DC? Anyway, it’s loud and it’s rock and who knows if anyone’s gonna like it, but Merry Christmas anyway! But back to the point: The picture had to make sense with the EP, which meant the dogs had to be in it. So I hauled all this Christmas stuff and music stuff out on the deck, slapped on Santa hats (and jingle bell collars) and the 5 males (3 human, 2 furry) had to put up with my little vision. Well, make that 6 because Mark’s (saintly) dad came over and snapped the pix, trying to get us all to a) look at the camera and b) smile. It was a little like a tree with a bat and a bald spot, but that’s okay. We’ve got 59 outtakes (one of which I’ve posted here) and one that’ll go on the card. And when we stumble upon it years from now we won’t remember that the dogs tore up the couch and wanted to hide underneath it, or that the sun was too bright and everybody had way too much advice. We’ll just point and say, Hey! That was our Risky Whippet Christmas, remember that? The rest is just family tradition.