Christmas Callie


Christmas is coming. Ginny and I turn on the Hallmark channel and watch Christmas movies. It’s the time of year to open our hearts and feel the love and life around us. We both have soft hearts and love a good cry.

We paused the movie, as I yelled, “No, Callie! Get away from the tree!”

She was just a tiny ball of gray and beige fur living in the grass and brush behind our apartment. I rescued her a few months before Christmas. Ginny named her Callie because she is a calico.

A week after I rescued her, Ginny looked at me, “Mike, the Christmas tree!”

“Huh?” I looked at Gin. “What about it?”

“Mike, what about your tree? Callie will get in it.”

I thought about my precious ornaments. Many came from my childhood. Some were gifts from a dear friend and expensive. “You’re right, Gin. I never thought about that. I’m sure it will be OK.”

I was wrong!

Ginny and I took a trip to the storage shed, piled the boxes of ornaments and the tree into her daughter’s van and brought them home.

As I put the tree together, Callie climbed the branches. Each layer I added, she climbed higher. “Callie, no!” I yelled – my new mantra. I grew impatient and locked her in the bathroom until I was done.

I spent the evening trying to keep her from the tree. She hid behind my shoes and waited for me to look away. As soon as I turned my head, she ran to the tree, pawed at the lower branches and sprinted away before I could get to her.

We found a water bottle. It could squirt water a good 10 feet. It became my weapon of choice to use on the little tree hugger. I’d notice ornaments swaying and know our grey Christmas destroyer was in the tree again. I peered through the branches and saw her looking back at me with a guilty look that said, “I can’t help myself, daddy. It’s even prettier on the inside looking out.” A few squirts of water from my trusty bottle made her climb out and slink away to lick her wet fur.
 
We can’t leave her alone in the room where our tree is displayed. Ginny made that mistake once. She went shopping with her daughter one day. When she got in the car, she remembered but knew she’d only be out for a little over an hour. “How much damage can she do in that little bit of time?” she reasoned.

When she got home, all the balls on the lower branches were missing. Callie knocked them all off and played with them. Ginny found them in the kitchen and down the hall.

Callie is a handful, but we love her, tree climbing and all. She cried in the brush. We saved her. It’s her first Christmas. She’s making the best of it.

Michael T. Smith

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