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The One Where Christmas Is Saved

Oh, the weather outside is frightful.

But the fire is sooooooo delightful.
And since we've no place to go....


We slowly returned to Virginia via mountainous roads...

and a detour or two...

including some time pondering life in front of a country store...
before returning home.

Now I am fresh off the phone with Mrs. H, discussing the Christmas dinner menu.
"Hey guys, guess what Mrs. H is serving for Christmas dinner? Your favorite!"
Pipsqueaks chime in, "What is it?!?" I pause dramatically: "LAMB!"
Pipsqueak 1: "Who is it?"

We don't know this particular lamb.  But I was reflecting on sustainable farming, and the humane raising of meat and butchering when we returned home from vacation to be told that just hours earlier an urban hawk had brutally taken out one of our chickens in front of her flock.  I thought about the fact that I dreaded butchering a bird, and will always do it as quickly and humanely as possible... and that I am adamant and vocal that backyard butchers MUST be practiced before attempting to extinguish a life, otherwise they, in their clumsiness, achieve what they aim to avoid: cruelty.

Maybe that is still better than the factory farm.  Maybe that is still better than being immobilized by a hawk, to be eaten while still alive...  but you can always be better.

Wow. I really do know how to spread the holiday cheer, no?

Well, despite the wonderful time away, it has been a hard holiday, hence my reflection.
Upon our return, I learned a chicken had been lost, my sister's dog had been poisoned and was in the emergency vet dying, and another friend, and a family member, died.

A day passed... and then: my sister called me in tears.
After three days and a $3,000 vet bill (and this after giving birth just weeks ago to a child who needed an MRI last week), the vet had called to say they needed to make the decision about whether to put the dog down. This as she and her husband were making last minute arrangements to fly, with a newborn, leaving her older boys, on Christmas Day, to Seattle for a funeral.

I tried to comfort her, as she wept.
"HOW am I going to break this to the boys on Christmas?!?"

We went over the details, about how if the dog was suffering, it was the right thing to do. We went over their grief, how four boys would now face the holiday with so much loss...  I hung up the phone, so sad for them all.

And then the phone rang.
It was my sister, and she was still crying.
"When I got off the phone with you, the vet called. 
 I knew they were going to tell me what we already knew: that it had been done, and now I needed to tell the boys.

Instead, the vet said, 
'I just couldn't do it.
The staff gathered and we're just not going to put him down, we're going to do everything we can to get this dog better and there will be no more charges. The entire staff is crying right now and we wish you all a Very Merry Christmas.' "

I sat, stunned, listening, then we ALL burst into tears.
THANK YOU, the entire staff at the Emergency Clinic, THANK you, Betty Baugh.
Christmas will be a whole lot happier for four young boys in Richmond.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday...
As always, I reassure you that there will be technical green building stuff in the next post, just around the corner.





At 12/24/10, 2:09 PM , Blogger George said...

Merry Christmas to you and the rest of your wonderful family.
love, G.


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