by Anne Sullivan
“Have you finished your list yet?” I asked Sylvia while we were sitting in front of the TV. More accurately, I was sitting under two heated throws and Sylvia was sprawled out on the rug, poised for, but not, writing.
“No,” Sylvia said with a sour look at me. “It’s very hard to write a list of what I’m thankful for while watching the Evening News. Auto accidents, bullying, drunk driving, murders, on-line predators, job cuts, suicides. All I can find to be thankful for is that it’s not happening to me.”
“You ought to be thankful that the elections are over and we don’t have to listen to those terrible ads,” I said.
“I guess I could also be thankful I didn’t have to fly any place for Thanksgiving.” Sylvia licked the pen and wrote.
“Hear, hear,” I agreed.
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about the pat-down though. I enjoy being petted.”
“This is more like going to the vet,” I informed her.
“Oh. I wouldn’t like that.”
“Don’t worry. You’re not going anywhere.”
“That’s good. I like it here.”
“You could be thankful for that.”
Sylvia dutifully added it to her short list.
“While you’re making lists,” I suggested, “you might start your Christmas list.”
“That won’t take long,” Sylvia said, flipping to a new page in her spiral notebook. “There’s you and Gordo. Oh, and my friend Yah Dah in Socorro. And there’s that little dog who lives in the apartment in New York with your friend Lois.”
I watched as she turned another page and began to write furiously. “What’s that you’re writing now? Another list?”
“Yes, it’s a list of things I wish would happen.”
“Aside from World Peace, what have you got?”
“So far this is what I’ve written: I wish Christmas would come once every three years instead of every year. Then I might be ready for it.”
“I’m with you on that one. I barely get the tree down and the decorations put away and it’s time to put everything up again.”
“That’s Number One. Number Two is: I wish not so many catalogs would come into this house. We need only one a year from each company. Think of the paper it would save. That ought to be a law.”
“I’ll go along with that one, too.”
“And Number Three is: I wish there was a Santa Claus for dogs.”
“Isn’t there? I should take you to see Santa. He comes to the school in Datil after the Christmas play.”
“No, I don’t want to go then. He’s there for the school kids. I’d feel self-conscious, being the only dog.”
“I’ll think on that. Anything else on your list?”
“I wish Santa would find me a publisher.”
“That might be difficult for him. I’m sure he’s a Luddite and not familiar with how publishing works these days.”
“Wouldn’t you know.” She sighed heavily. “Another year of being unappreciated and unknown will be the finish of me.”
I watched the cloud of despond hovering over her head. “Surely not,” I said. “You have more guts and gumption than that.”
A tear dripped down on the notebook as she wrote and spoke at the same time, “I wish you’d go for more walks with me.”
“I would. I mean to. I want to. It’s just that it’s so cold and windy these days.”
“You mean it’s just that you’re getting wimpy.” She met my silence with, “I wish time wasn’t flying by so fast and we weren’t getting so old.”
“But consider how wise we’re getting to be. And don’t you think you could end your column in a more positive way?”
“If I had one of those big Vitabone biscuits to munch on I’m pretty sure I could.”