Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sylvia, Friend Endure Quite An Arctic Winter

By Anne Sullivan

“You’re late with my breakfast this morning.” Sylvia stood before me, paws on haunches, accusing.
“I know,” I said from (where else) my comfortable chair. “I simply couldn’t get going today. It’s so-o-o cold I just wanted to stay in bed.”
“You mustn’t give into to your selfish desires,” Sylvia admonished. “You need to get some discipline into your belly instead of eating all those chocolate truffles you got for Christmas. You must remember that you have responsibilities.”
“I know, I know, but the will just isn’t there.”
“It had better get there soon.” Sylvia glowered at me. “The weather man says it’s going to snow again and the wood on the porch is running low.”
“It’s all very hard.” Cowering in my comfortable chair, I defended myself, “The rest of the wood is buried in the snow and I have to dig it out piece by piece while standing precariously on I-don’t-know-what. I wish you would help.”
“It’s not in my job description,” said Sylvia very quickly. “Dogs don’t carry wood.”
“I’m sure some dogs do. If it was a deer leg, you’d carry it.”
“That’s different. You don’t seem to comprehend. I have to keep up my image of superiority here in Swingle Canyon.”
“And I don’t?”
“No, not really. You just have to see that the work gets done.”
“Which means I have to do it.” I watched Sylvia as she nodded vigorously. “So I need to carry the wood, is that it?” I questioned, knowing all too well the answer.
“If you want to keep warm, it is,” Sylvia replied with a smirk on her face. “You have that choice. Warm or cold. Then again, there are other ways of keeping warm. You could turn the thermostat way up.”
“I could if I wanted to use up all the very expensive propane,” I protested.
“It’s your choice, you see. You could spend a lot more money for propane.”
“I’m already spending a lot of money for propane. A lot more money than I used to spend, let me tell you.”
“That’s the game of choice. Up the thermostat or carry more wood for the fireplace or you could freeze.”
I groaned at the thought and said, “None of these are very attractive choices.”
“But they’re all under your control and control in life is everything. As I said, that’s the way the game is played.” A certain amount of glee glowed in Sylvia’s eyes as she explained the rules of this game.
“It’s a game I’m losing. I don’t want to do any of the above. I just want to stay under my heated throw and read the books I got for Christmas.”
“The world isn’t about what you want,” lectured Sylvia. “Listen to Steve Stucker. He says it’s going to snow again. Soon. And then the wood will be buried even deeper. Get out of that chair. It’s really nice outside. Nice and brisk. It’ll put roses into your cheeks. Come on,” she said, tugging my electric throw off my legs. “I’ll go out with you and watch you to make sure you don’t disappear into the snow. I’ll even cheer you on.”
“Bah, humbug,” I said, removing my throw from Sylvia’s teeth and returning it to my frozen legs.
“You’ve got to get a hold of yourself, my girl,” Sylvia said, having the last word as usual.

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