My son is going into the navy in about 4 weeks.  He's been planning on going into the navy for over a year but he enlisted with the Delayed Enlistment Program so that he'd have time to get a SEAL contract – have laser surgery on his eyes to meet the vision requirements, finish 15 hours of college, and become UBER FIT.

He leaves in a few weeks.  I'm not certain when I'll see him again and I especially have no idea when we'll have another holiday together. 

Complicating this Christmas was the fact that when he leaves in January, he can't take anything with him; He will have just the clothes on his back and even those get donated or shipped home.

No one had ANY idea what gift to get Carlos.  He doesn't even EAT good or interesting food anymore.  He lives a life of strict physical discipline; eats the same thing at regularly spaced intervals and works out 3-4 times a day.

His sister took us all go-cart racing.  Everyone else gave him money.  I didn't want to do that. I had NO OTHER ideas.

UNTIL..a week or so ago we were watching television together, all the dogs laying around on the floor or furniture except Scout, who tends to hunker down far away, in her crate or under a bed, awaiting whatever Dark Conclusion she seems always certain is right around the corner. Carlos loves Scout and she doesn't dislike him.  Carlos considers Zeke and Scout his dogs and everyone else my ridiculous excess.

Carlos loves Scout's weirdness; that she seems like she is intelligent, yet completely absolutely unsound.  Deranged, even. She's amusingly crazed and he likes having her around.

So, we were sitting around, Scoutless as usual.  I think I commented on how one day I wouldn't be surprised to find that she was building a bomb somewhere under the furniture.  Carlos called her a few times and eventually she came skulking in and jumped up onto the back of the couch to endure her standard 3 strokes on the top of the head or right side of the body.  She was just getting ready to get her skulk on when he said her name again and she stopped briefly, turning back to Carlos. She gave him one of her patented grisely smiles.  It's truly a sinister thing.


We laughed. She disappeared.

"I know what I want for Christmas," Carlos said.


"I want a picture of Scout on Santa's lap. …"

"Really?" I asked, picturing the many obstacles between that wish and reality.  That wish and a huge fine. That wish and me ruining Christmas for SANTA.

"Yes. That's what I want. And not some hokey bullshit petstore Santa…I want a Mall Santa with a good background and elves and shit…"

We both laughed. 

"Yeah.  What would be your SECOND choice this Christmas?"

Scout hates everything except me, Carlos, and trails. Scout barks at ANYTHING or ANYONE who makes eye contact with her, NO MATTER at what distance…through car windows, passing pedestrians…people in their kitchen next door.   Scout isn't friendly even to her own family most of the time.  Scout is an odd little dog who will bite.  Scout would hate Christmas if one could explain it to her.

Still.  With Kelsey's help and thanks to living in Rural America…




It never even dawned on the poor son of a bitch to be scared.  He was a jolly old elf indeed.  Though she didn't NOT HATE him, Scout also didn't bite or even bark at him. 


I'm pretty sure she didn't make a wish, thank God.