Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas at 'Chateau Cuckoo'

My son came home for Christmas.
I drove to Nashville yesterday to pick him up from the airport. Southwest airlines decided that Jake's suitcase, and one belonging to another passenger on that flight, would be happier flying on the next plane. That plane wouldn't arrive for a few hours. Jake said forget it. He had his laptop in his carry on. He could go to Salvation Army and get some jeans.

It was a last minute decision to come home, but such a welcome one for me, and Bill, and Jake's cousin. I told Jake that we didn't have a tree, and the only decorations in the house are bazillions of wonderful holiday cards with whippets on them. And that we had accepted invitations from neighbors for Christmas dinners, but I was sure he would be warmly included by all our friends. That was fine, he said, he just wanted to come home. He's not had the best year of his life. You might say that everything that could go wrong for him has. Twice. And if you said that you would not be guilty of hyperbole.

So we talked and talked the two and a half hours home from the airport. We stopped and visited with Phyllis and Maddie and gave them their presents. Phyllis had an only son, and had out lived him. I thought she would enjoy a visit with Jake and I knew he would love to meet her.

At our house, the whippets went bonkers over Jake's magical appearance. Their favorite Jake was home! Ah-wooo, woo-woo, wildness and frivolity! Jake stepped back out to get something from the car while I settled the waggle.

When I looked up through the kitchen door onto the breezeway, Jake was standing there with an eleven foot Christmas tree. What was Jake doing with an eleven foot Christmas tree? A Christmas tree? Where did Jake get a Christmas tree?

"Jake. Where did you get that Christmas tree?"

"Someone left it in the alley for you."

My mind raced. The tree even had a string of lights in the uppermost section. The trolley station is on the other side of the alley. Oh my, did Jake help himself to one of their decorations? He wouldn't. But.

"Where in the alley? What do you mean someone left it in the alley?"

"There's an Indian belief, Mom. If you find a hammer, that means that someone left it for you and wanted you to have it. Someone wants us to have this Christmas tree."

"There are no Indians in our alley, Jake!"

"It was in the alley next to your neighbors' trash cans."

I have an over active imagination. Our neighborhood has had a bit of a hubub over a Christmas tree, which looked a lot like this one. One group bought an artificial tree for an official lighting by the Mayor, asking for donations to cover the cost, and only recouped about a third. The tree had lights and some sparse decorations. Some anonymous elves bought beautiful red ornaments and ribbons and strands of beads and decorated the tree under cover of darkness. The neighborhood celebrated this delightful act of generosity. Only someone somehow misunderstood and there was talk of filing charges against the people who "desecrated" the tree. And that was soundly booed as flabberghastorhetoric histrionics, and the neighborhood was very quiet for several weeks, except for people remarking on the lovely decorating job of the public tree.

I imagined that someone had vandalized the scandalized tree and tossed it in our alley and it was now headed for our living room. That there would be a big empty place where the public tree once stood and a familiar looking tree in Casa Renzulli's living room window. And we would be found out and never live down the shame. But no. This was a real tree, and the scandalous one was fake. I called my next door neighbor.

"Hi Michael. Jake is home for a visit. Yes, I'll tell him you said hi. He just showed up with a tree he found in the alley. Oh you are? It is? Are you sure? OK. Thanks. Merry Christmas!"

So, it turned out that Jake was right about the Indians, only it wasn't Native Americans, it was our next door neighbors. They had opened presents in the morning and then Ashly and the kids had already left to visit family in Texas. Michael is a CCU nurse and has to work Christmas day and the next, and then he will join them. He had just taken the tree down and was delighted for us to have it. Now we have a Christmas tree.

The Salvation Army was closed today. So were the consignment shops. Jake did not want to buy new clothes, as he has plenty of clothes. Another neighbor stopped by with a delectable plate of cookies. She heard the story of Jake's lost luggage, and said, "Well, you're exactly the same size as my husband, and we have a pile of clothes to go to the Salvation Army. I'll go get some." She came back with pants and shirts and even a pair of perfect cowboy boots. Jake practically lives in cowboy boots.

I think those Native Americans were pretty smart. Merry Christmas everyone!

Hug your hounds, and yourselves, and each other too.


  1. Glad Jack is at home with you! He looks like a pretty nice boy! And handsome too!
    Merry Christmas for you all!
    Kisses and hugs

  2. Merry Christmas!! We have enjoyed reading your blog so much since we found it!

  3. Merry Christmas to all of you! We hope Santa brought you everything on your lists!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  4. How absolutely wonderful! Welcome home Jake! It seems to be the season for wonderful gifts being left for all of us to find. xxxooo, Deb

  5. How great Jake could come home for Christmas. Plus a tree and clothes. Merry Christmas

  6. Merry Christmas to all of you, Patience, Bill, Jake and the Waggle.

    Hi Jake.



  7. Welcome home to Jake, and our best wishes for a wonderful 2008 to all of you.

    Barb and Gussie

    ps..we are glad you support consignment shops. That is what muzzer has! We love it. Only no one consigns dog bones?


  8. Haha! What a wonderful story that your Jake found his way home and THEN found a tree! (Indoor plumbing!)

    Happy pawlidays to all the whippets and peoples and may 08 be a better one for everyone (especially Jake).


  9. May Jake have a much better year in 2008. But in the meantime, there is nothing like being home to lift the spirits. :) Give him a big hug for me!

    Have a great holiday, Patience, family, and waggle!

  10. Your son is so handsome Pee. Must be that good heart showing through! I hope his year is a good one and thanks for sharing this great story.

    Merry Christmas!

    Erin, Rose, Scarlett, and Patrick

  11. Thats a great story!!!
    You have a very sensible son!!Good looking too!!
    God works in mysterious ways !
    Merry Christmas

  12. From our Pack to Yours,My all your dreams come true for you this christmas.Woofing, wagging, chomping, chewing . . .
    These are things we sure love doing!
    Merry Christmas sniff-sniff

    Lot's of Lick's

  13. What a great surprise, and what a handsome great son you have, Patience. Good story. Susan

  14. Oh Sweet Whippets
    Jack looks like the best pwesent to have at home evew!!
    What a gweat sowy..I think Jack's wight too!
    I hope you celebwated with lots of joy and love
    smoochie kisses

  15. Merry Merry Christmas! We know Santa was good to ya'll
    love licks

  16. I was going to say how handsome your son is but everyone has already. Merry Christmas. And you know karma is at work for the "desecration" of the tree.

  17. Ditto on Jake, and Happy Houndy-days anyway. Martha and P-Doggy.

  18. Merry Christmas to you and Yours Patience!

    What a wonderful post. (as always!)

    And how handsome Jake is!

    The wonder of Christmas.

    Lovely Jubbley as we say in the UK!

    lots of licks from Marvin and love from Jeannie xxxxx

  19. I'm glad you liked ouw smiles..we had a vewy good time and pleeze don't call my dawling Sam a mooshhead..he's the best!!!!
    Mommi got one of youw Mom's books fow hew and one fow hew fwiend yipeeee!!!!
    I love Delia's pick of pictoowe too!
    I hope youw whole family had the mewwiest time evew!
    smoochie kisses

  20. Just a merry hello on the day after Christmas!

    kari & kijsa

  21. Yet another brilliant post!

    I so pleased for you that your son's made an unexpected visit for Christmas. Especially now that we know that the Christmas tree isn't stolen property!

    Catching up on your earlier posts, it's wonderful to see the improvement in Elsa already. You and your friends really do have hearts of gold.

    I hope you and the waggle have had a wonderful Christmas.

  22. Great STORY about Christmas Eve! I still love the fact that he jacked the tree out of the alley, and I hope that the other things worked out well for Jake. See you soon neighborette! VC

  23. Also, I wanted to say that I love the Chateau Cuckoo title. It is perfect! Am I one of the only few people that have a picture of herself and not her pet here?

  24. Our very dear friend Harvey came up with the "Chateau Cuckoo" moniker for Casa Renzulli. It is perfect.
    And Aynex, if I was as glamorous as you are, I would have left my picture up forever. But sadly, the whippets are much more interesting than my old wrinkly self.

    Jake called last night. Southwest had overbooked, and he ended up getting his ticket refunded PLUS a free round trip to anywhere. So he flew to Ocala to explore new business prospects!!! He is so my hero..
    grateful smiles to you all-

  25. this is so wonderful! i love it when things work out like this. i hope next year is better for jake, and indeed for everyone who has had a tough time lately. i suppose yet again i have to quote my favourite saying in times of difficulty - what doesn't break you makes you strong.

  26. Patience, I so enjoy reading your blog. This entry was especially nice considering your previous entry about not really liking Christmas. I am so happy your son came home and made you happy for Christmas. My son is two years old and I am already hoping he comes home to me for Christmas when he's older too!

    All the best,


  27. What a wonderful were blessed! Welcome home to your sweet son!

    Happy 2008...kari and kijsa


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