Remember my beautiful gingerbread house that I made over Thanksgiving? I painstakingly made the pretzel fence for at least an hour, saturating baby Polka with salt as I broke off and ate parts of the pretzels and then dozed the little baby with sugar licking the icing from my fingers trying to keep them clean. Little baby didn't know what was comin'! And see the pretty walkway lit by luminarios? And my Christmas cone of a tree? It's a beauty isn't it? Two hours later I came home with this sentimental reminder of what Christmas is all about: bonding with family while on sugar highs. Oh, I jest.
My gingerbread house was given center stage in our kitchen atop of our little island. Tempted to get his grubby fingers all over it, Matt wanted to snag a few bites off of it. I'm still not sure what appeals to the guy about eating two-week old candy that has been sitting out in the wide open. But nevertheless, I guarded that sucker like a mother hen guards her chicks. Every morning as I woke up, I'd come out and gaze with pride upon my creation, reveling in the fact that I did a dang good job on the house, if I may say so in my not-so-humble opinion. And every night as it glowed from the lit candle next to it, I once again took delight in my only homemade Christmas decor in the house.
Forgive me...as I stumble...upon...my words here; the grief is just too deep for me to recount the story without pausing to shed a tear or two. Last Wednesday morning, I dutifully ran some errands on what was the coldest day of December yet: a blistery 50 degrees. With the wind chill it felt like 49.5 degrees. Greeting me were two dogs barking and bouncing up a storm to welcome me home. Yes, two dogs: we were watching our friends' dog, Chloe, for the week. And of course, our Molly.
"Hi, puppies!" I declared in my usual enthusiastic shrill just as high-pitched as any professional alto singer can peak.
"Have you been good puppies? Let's go on outside and do our business. Oh, you girls are sooooo cute. Good puppies. Oh, you're such good puppies!" On and on went my affection to these two furry creatures who make it delightful to come home.
Outside they went, rustling in the leaves and yet quickly eager to come back inside. The feel of 49.5 degrees of wintry air was too much for their little bodies to take...you know, the wind and cold penetrates through their three layers of fur rather rapidly. They're both trained quite nicely to go out, do their 'thang', and then march back inside tails wagging and ready for the next opportunity for playtime...or in this case, naps. I flipped on our gas fire place to warm my chilled, furless body and headed into the kitchen to put away whatever items I bought that day that we didn't need.
Looking down to the ground as I walked to the kitchen (a great habit), I noticed a small piece of pretzel fence on the tile.
Oh, it must of fallen off somehow.
There was just a small piece of the fence on the floor, that's it. Otherwise, the floor was clean enough to eat off of...aside from those wads of black fur from Molly that make their way underneath my kitchen cabinets. My eyes drifted back up to the island to admire my gingerbread house and that's when I put two-and-two together. The light switch came on. My gingerbread house was in a different place on the island. The fence, entirely gone. The tree, vanished. The roof, gnawed. My luminarios, bulldozed. Little gingerbread crumbs, shatters of peppermint candy, and a few candies that made up my Christmas lights were on the island.
PUPPIES! Guilty Puppies!
How they managed to not push the whole house off the island to come crashing down is beyond me. Somehow, they were very strategic in using their paws, long noses, and flexible tongues to push the house around and eat to their heart's content without making much of a mess.
Oh, dear gingerbread house of mine had thus been demolished!
I never thought that a two-week old gingerbread house would still give off a flavorful and tempting aroma to a dog! Surveying the damage, I mustered up all the strength I had to face the grievous realization that my gingerbread house had come to one of the most dreaded demises a gingerbread house could ever face. Mauled, shoved around, dog-handled, bit into with sharp teeth. Oh, the thought is enough to make me shudder! Its purpose is to sit pretty, admired from afar, maybe with an occasional nibble of one of its candies removed from it by a gentle human hand. But it's never supposed to face the indescribable fate my gingerbread house experienced that Wednesday morning.
Even as I prepared to give it a proper, yet solemn burial in the garbage can, both guilty puppies made their way over to examine what I was doing, as if they were ready and eager for more. Remorse was absent from their faces. Instead, pride made its grand appearance as tails wagged and noses explored the garbage. They had just eaten one of the best meals of their entire lives, and by golly, they must have felt like they'd just conquered the world! Little did they know they were rubbing salt into a deep open wound they'd made in my heart. My gingerbread house is now on some heap of rubbish down at the dump. But each night since that day, I'm sure both Molly and Chloe have nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of pretzels, icing and candy corns dance in their heads!