“You brought it home. You should take care of it.” I hated to be difficult at the risk of disrupting household harmony, but I’m pretty sure this sort of thing is covered in the Constitution.
“I gave it water every day this week.”
“And now you can clean up after it.”
“But I got it for the whole family.”
I polled the audience with a glance. Son One’s face was three inches from the television screen. He held a video game controller and was pressing buttons faster than I can type to rid the world of aliens. Son Two was carefully accessing You Tube on his brand-new-from-Santa laptop to upload a video of himself making a video. He was clutching his tongue between his teeth in the classic “Don’t mess with me while I’m thinking” pose. I never realized You Tube required that much concentration.
Sooner or later even the Captain of the family Ship of Life has to learn the consequences of random acts of kindness. “It’s not looking good for family unity.”
He sighed. “A month ago everybody loved it.”
“A month ago everybody hung their hopes on a fat guy fitting down our chimney.”
“I can’t believe they don’t want to have it around.”
“Actually nobody knows it’s there. After two weeks the new wears off, the dust settles, and it becomes invisible. That’s nature’s rule.”
He cleared his throat meaningfully and swung into his “last chance before grounding” voice. “Now hear this. Someone needs to take ownership of the Christmas tree. It’s drier than your Aunt Edna’s pot roast.”
Son One rolled his eyes and blasted two aliens with a single shot. Son Two aimed a peace sign and a grin at his web cam and pushed the black button.
About that time, the Captain’s personal dog and first mate, a rambling Labradorish thing who is his sworn companion, front seat navigator, and right paw in all things domestic trotted up, bubblegum-colored tongue languishing out of one side of his mouth.
“Well there’s your champion waterer right there. His resume is as long as our driveway. There isn’t a shrub that didn’t have his help during the drought.”
“At least someone cares.”
We watched together as the big dog strolled over and took personal charge of watering the Christmas tree, which was so old the needles piled on the carpet like dirty underwear on the laundry room floor and the branches were slick as ski poles.
Bill smiled fondly. “See he cares. He still has the spirit of the season.”
“That’s great,” I answered, blotting the tree skirt with Bill’s windbreaker. “But if that’s the way he says Merry Christmas, I’d rather not hear what Man's Best Friend has to say on your birthday.”