My sweet Sven has been accused of resembling Clint.
The movie star.
My heart throb.
The last time it happened he was crossing the street to mail a letter.
“I told you so,” I said.
“Well Millie,” he says, “isn’t he about eighty now?”
To be honest, Sven and Clint are not blood relatives.
And Sven’s last name is not Eastwood.
But I call him Sven Eastwood anyway.
Because in the big picture we are all related.
And the only difference between my sweet Sven and Cool hand Luke is that Sven has no interest in riding a horse. He is a terrible aim. And some of his outfits just don’t fit the gun fighter bill.
Is it a plane?
Our perfect canine, Hunter, and I have a lot in common.
We both like to sit in front of the fire.
My sweet Sven’s golf channel makes us both stretch and yawn.
And we both detest going to the doctor.
We have our differences as well.
Hunter likes to catch and kill innocent little creatures, while I remain a pacifist.
Hunter loves swimming in our murky pond.
My toes don’t even dare touch the water.
And Hunter makes a huge display of himself at the clinic.
Take last Wednesday for instance. When the receptionist called his name. You should have been there. Hunter laid down on the floor spread eagle and refused to go into the examination room.
And that was after he already pissed on their front pillars.
This morning I woke up old.
And I am already sick of it.
Remember when you used to stay at Camp 28 with your friends for the weekend up there by Rib Lake?
But you all referred to the place as Camp 69, because it was more fun to say?
And how you were never caught at home on New Year’s Eve because you were too busy drinking shots of Wild Turkey after cross country skiing and then going through that salad bar and eating that medium rare steak and your plate had a stack of empty butter packages?
And then how you traipsed up and down the streets in that little town, through the slush and snow and it was so fun?
And no matter how late your head hit your pillow, the muffled sound of revving snowmobile engines never died?
I do too.
But this morning, on the eve of the eve, I could barely get my ass out of bed.
It wasn’t my fault.
It was because Hunter, the wonder dog, was waiting down there on the floor next to me on his geriatric-memory-foam-bed, from Bed Bath and Beyond.
The Christmas tree is to the holidays what the centerfold is to Playboy.
Imagine your disappointment if your tree was ripped out of your magazine.
That is why you must always have one.
It was shortly after our kids had all grown up and had all moved away and we had grandchildren that Sven and I found it.
The sign said, Trees for Sale.
And it was in front of a place suited for a post card. A formal white house with pillars and green shutters stood next to a red barn, all in bleached snow.
The trees cost thirty-five dollars.
And they came as tall as you liked.
I liked tall.
“That one Sven,” I would say and point at the grandest one I could find.
“Millie, I don’t know if it’s going to fit,” he’d say.
“Of course it will.”
Did you know that while tall and skinny trees truly are tall, they are not that skinny?
They might be slim and trim standing out there in the middle of nature.
But once you bring them into your house, they can block the path to your bathroom.
And once you have a tree that is large enough to cause a bottleneck in your home, already screwed into a stand and you are still alive, you are not about to take it back down.