In our neighborhood, we know who lives in every house (I know the humans, Izzy knows the animals) and have begun to learn their habits. The old guy with the pit bull-mix that doesn’t like Izzy walks Main Street around 6 PM. If we’re there at the same time, we have to walk on separate sides of the street, because he can’t quite control his young, angry dog. (It’s not his fault. The dog came from a home where he was tied outside in the back yard all the time, and he’s frustrated. I think the dog could use a LOT of exercise, but the old man can barely do the walks down Main Street a couple of times a day, never mind run with the dog to get rid of some of his aggressive energy). On Main Street, the artsy couple walks their two dogs very early and when we didn’t see them one day, I wondered why. We found out the next day that the older dog had passed away. And two houses down from us, the Spanish teacher at the community school takes out his dachshund at the same time that Izzy and I make our second walk before I leave for work. They have a sniff every weekday morning, then happily trot away. When I heard the dachshund barking every day over the Thanksgiving holidays and didn’t see the teacher’s car, I started to worry, but it was okay. He was just away for the holiday.
During the holidays, certain houses decorate over the Thanksgiving weekend (I’m one of them) while others don’t decorate at all. Izzy watches them out the window, patrolling the couch to make sure that no one puts any extra decorations on our lawn.
And when we walk the neighborhood, we check out the sights that we see along the way. The yellow Victorian house that had such wild decorations for the Halloween holiday has now put out their figures and lights for the Christmas celebration. But one of them seems oddly out of sync with the others.
In the middle of the lawn, in front of the sparkly horse and Cinderella-type carriage that the folks used as their focal point last year, stood a life-size brown wire moose. A moose. Izzy looked at it, then looked at me, then peered back at the moose again, as if to say, “What the hell does that have to do with Christmas?” I started laughing. I’m thinking the same thing.
That’s what holidays are like in my ‘hood.