Was it my two front teeth?
What do you want this time of year? Do you still have your two front teeth? I am lucky enough, at the age of 69, still to have mine. They stand there like mini enamel tombstones, ready to sparkle my smile or bite into an ear of corn, my reliable chompers that I am grateful to have.
What do I really want for Christmas? What do you want? For Chanukah or whichever holiday you celebrate? I bet what you want is what every adult wants: peace, love, harmony. Paid bills. Good health. Boundless joy everywhere we look.
We have a new dog, since our beloved Ziggy died six months ago. Our new dog, Max, embodies boundless joy. He’s a rescue dog, picked up off of a dirt road in Alabama, a puppy, starving, cuts on his paws and ears, emaciated, just about dead, so they told us. Must have weighed 10 pounds if that. They fed him and treated his wounds and transported him up to Massachusetts where he went to a foster home for a while to get healthy. That’s when we met him.
He was about six weeks old then and weighed about 25 pounds. He had filled out from the emaciated pup on death’s door and had become the beginning of the full-blown personality we know today.
Today? Max, Maximus, Maximillion weighs around 70 pounds, looks for all the world like Scooby Doo, and is all legs and paws and mouth and 100% heart. He’s a beautiful, big, brown loping dog who bounds into a room like a crashing wave. If there’s a gate across the doorway, which we put up when he was smaller, now he simply leaps over it. Once in the room he jumps into whosever lap he sees first and immediately starts to lick that person or to take the person’s arm into his mouth, not to bite, but to massage the arm with his large, white teeth.
His size and smooth brown coat makes me think he might be part Great Dane or Dobermann or maybe a bit of Boxer. We’re going to send in a dog DNA test to find out for sure. Who knows what that will bring back! Maybe a trace of Chihuahua just to mess us up.
This boy is a true beauty. But he is still just a puppy, growing and quite out of control, despite our attempts with obedience classes and such. He loves to chew. . .everything. His favorites are shoes, hats, scarves, pillows, blankets, doormats, boxes, wallets, credit cards, and whatever he can snatch off of the kitchen counter. We love it, of course, when he will agree to chew one of the many chew toys we’ve bought for him.
But his greatest, most unavoidable quality is indeed his boundless joy. Max bounds. Boundlessly. Everywhere he goes, he bounds. Tail wagging, big brown eyes looking up ready to engage, paw ready to lift to shake, Max makes his rounds of our four story (including basement) house, until sleeping at night in our son Jack’s room. Jack is his official owner. Jack picked him out, along with our other son Tucker. Sue, my wife, cautioned them against a big dog, to no avail, and now, although she calls Max such a bad dog when he chews her favorite shoe, she loves him as much as all of us do. It is impossible not to love Max, as bad as he can be.
Boundless joy delivered by a being who destroys your favorite shoe, poops in middle of your living room floor, jumps up onto your guest’s lap, and wolfs down your dinner from the very plate you were about to eat it off of. Isn’t this the secret to finding the best in life?
That’s what I want for Christmas. Even more than my two front teeth, I want Max. Max. Maximus. And all that Max brings with him.
May your holidays be filled with Maxes of your own. Thank the Lord for Max and whoever bent over on that dirt road in Alabama to pick up that half dead pup who’s come to bring us joy.