Sam’s stocking was handmade by genius novelist and sew-goddess Lydia Netzer. Maisy had a lovely one as well, but got lost somehow on a Christmas Travel, when she was about four. As an LPoQT (little person of questionable taste) she picked this emergency one out at Target:
Well. Okay. IN MY DEFENSE: Santa was imminent. She was distraught over losing her precious stocking, another handmade quilted sort of thingy from her grandmother. No other stocking in all of Target spoke (barked?) to her. No other stocking made up for her loss. Faced with a Christmas Eve where my weeping youngest hung a filthy tube sock, what could I do?
Reader, I purchased him. He has been her stocking, ever since.
He bothers me more, every year. It looks like we have HUNG a dog. As in, “by the neck until dead.” And while on some level I feel it serves as a fine warning to those who feel tempted to counter surf (*cough*Bagel*cough*) it is Not Very Christmassy.
Except, in my family, maybe it is. Did I ever tell you about MOO-EY the Christmas Cow? Moo-ey has a SONG and everything. Let me see if I can figure out how to get a recording of the MOO-EY SONG, and then I will tell you it.
It makes more sense if you know that in my family, Cows are the avatar of all that is good and right. Sam did this. His FIRST imaginary friend was a cow named Ontag who lived in the shed behind our old house out in rural Georgia. Ontag was The Best. Righteous and Mighty. Ontag smote the wicked who might rise up from the crick against our family.
Mostly pigs. Why pigs and not cottonmouths, I do not know. I HATE COTTONMOUTHS. I am a snake person, too, as in, I actively enjoy interacting with pet snakes up close and personal and with wild ones from a respectful, eyes-only distance. But. A cottonmouth in a crick where my kid’s play? No. Sorry, sir, your breathing privileges ought to be revoked. It would have been handy to have a superhero cow to perform this service. But no, Ontag fought pigs. Mostly.
My kids, to this day, play a game called HEY, COW. Whenever we drive past cows, these people (Now 17 and 12) both roll down the window and scream, HEY, COW! If the cow looks up and acknowledges the greeting, they are blessed with all kinds of Cowly luck. And should multiple cows or a BABY cow look up—well, that is a omen of such favor! Why, it is hardly to be imagined!
Dead dogs on the mantel? Not so great. I am going to try to tempt Maisy with a new stocking AGAIN this year, but I do not hold out high hopes. She has a yen for tradition, and in her memory, Wild West Justice Dog has been her stocking all her life.
Do you have any holiday traditions you’d CHANGE, if only you could?