Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sylvia, Friend Make Monumental Resolutions

by Anne Sullivan

“It’s another year, isn’t it?” Sylvia asked when she’d finished her dinner.
“It is that,” I agreed from my comfortable chair. NBC News was on the TV showing all the fireworks from Auckland and Sydney but I paid little attention, so absorbed was I in the latest Steve Havill book.
“Is it going to be a good year?” Sylvia wondered out loud as she waddled to her inside bed. Since it was minus one degree outside, she had little intention of playing in the 15 inches of snow that had blessed Single Canyon in the last few days.
“Could be. I hope so,” I said without looking up from my book.
“It’s an even-numbered year,” Sylvia observed. “I’ve noticed that even numbers are more friendly. Look at all the awful things that have happened in odd-numbered years: Pearl Harbor, 9-11.”
“I was born in an odd-numbered year,” I said.
“I meant odd-numbered years that end in the number one, like 2001 and 1941,” Sylvia quickly retracted.
“I was born in an odd-numbered year ending in the number one. I’m not saying which one.”
“Oh,” she said and was quiet for a minute or two before adding, “Well, I suppose there’s an exception to every rule.”
“I suppose so,” I said, returning to my book.
I read half a page before Sylvia interrupted again with, “Isn’t it beautiful with all the snow covering the oak branches and the full moon making shadows on the snow?”
“Very beautiful,” I agreed. “Very cold.”
“It’s winter. It’s supposed to be cold. It doesn’t do any good to complain.”
“Bound to do some good,” I disagreed. “Helps my disposition.”
“It can use some help,” Sylvia said as she nosed one of her toys out of her bed. “I just feel dissatisfied,” she went on. “I have this feeling hanging over me that I should resolve, and actually do, something noteworthy, something very unselfish, for which I will become famous. Don’t you feel that way?”
“No, the way I feel is that I’m just glad to survive, just to get through the winter without too many disasters. For example, I drove home last night through the snowstorm and I didn’t go off the road. That’s enough of a triumph for me.”
“Humph,” muttered Sylvia. “Let’s see how you feel about it in the morning when you have to dig the pickup out. Don’t forget, I saw you getting stuck in the snow.”
“I have to admit, there’s more snow than I thought. However, I refuse to be daunted by it.”
“That’s the spirit,” said Sylvia. “It’s bound to melt by Spring and you’ll be able to get out once again. I hope you bought a lot of Iams. At least I won’t starve.”
“Neither of us will starve,” I said. “While you’re thinking of something world-shaking to make a resolution about, I shall just go on in my small unobtrusive way.”
“You could go on a little faster. I think you could resolve to get the Christmas tree and decorations down and put away before St. Patrick’s Day.”
“Sylvia, you don’t properly appreciate how beautiful the tree is and all it stands for.”
“After all these years, I appreciate how hard it is for you to part with the Christmas tree. However, in view of safety and dry needles, do you think you could resolve to take it down by Valentine’s Day at the latest?”
I hesitated but a second before answering, “It’s done, if you, in view of your health and my rugs, resolve not to eat any more frozen manure this winter.”
Her horrified expression forced me to go on, “I realize it’s not exactly a world-shaking resolution, but you must have developed a sensitivity to frozen manu. It now makes you sick and I’m sick of you throwing up in the house.”
Sylvia rose from her bed and walked over to me with paw outstretched. “Deal,” she said as we shook and the bells tolled midnight..

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