A Stones Throw 12-26-13

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Hi. Shadow here.

I am writing this week’s A Stones Throw while Mike is getting ready for Christmas. At least that is what he tells me. Actually he is sitting in his chair complaining that he “wrenched his back.”

I asked Jade what a “wrench” is and she showed me one of the tools from her workshop. I looked at Mike’s back and I am sorry, I don’t see a “wrench” there. But, I told him I would be happy to write the column this week anyway.

But first, I had a question.

“What is the difference between Christmas and the Holiday season – and what is Xmas?

I used to think they were the same, but the other day I saw a sign on Mike’s computer that said “Christmas trees $5 a foot – Holiday trees $10 a foot.”

Since sometimes Mike says “Merry Christmas” and sometimes he says “Happy Holidays,” I figured he would be able to tell me the difference between the two and also explain why Holiday trees cost twice as much as Christmas trees.

Boy – did I get an earful.

He explained that for many religions Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ who is the son of God. He said many other religions do not believe in Jesus so they do not view Christmas as a celebration of their religion – thus, the Holiday season. He also said there are a lot of people who do not believe in any religion – so again, the Holiday season.

Mike says he has many friends who do not recognize Christmas as a religious holiday. Sometimes he isn’t sure how others feel. So, sometimes he says Merry Christmas and other times he says Happy Holidays. He says both are the same to him.

So why do Holiday trees cost twice as much as Christmas trees?

Mike says this is a combination of “freedom of speech” and “religious discrimination” – that the trees are really the same. Someone was just using the sign to show he believes in Christmas and is against those who don’t believe.

I always find it interesting that it seems a lot of people think it is all right to say things against what others think and say – but don’t think those others have the right to say things against them. I guess freedom of speech is a one-way freedom.

As for Xmas, Mike said it just being too lazy to spell out Christmas – or Holiday season. He thinks Xmas is a put down – whatever that means – to all who look forward to the Christmas – Holiday season.

I know I always look forward to it.

I still don’t understand the difference between Christmas and the Holiday season – I only know it is a time when Kevin, Marianne, Joseph, Jack, Erin, and Emma, as well as Kelly, Todd, Logan, and Lexi come to our house to eat, open presents, and enjoy each other.

I like that.

I like watching the entire family laugh and play together. It is obvious they love and enjoy each other.

As I sit watching their Christmas activities this year, I will look at Leah curled up on her pillow. Leah is 16 1/2 years old. She is getting very frail. This will probably be her last Christmas with us.

That makes me sad.

But, I am happy that she is with us today.

Even though Thunder is still a bully, I wish he could be with us. I think he would enjoy seeing how everyone gets along. Maybe he would even decide it was time for him and me to get along.

Wishful thinking, I know.

It doesn’t matter, Thunder will spend his day in the kennel again. I guess he can’t be trusted with the kids. I guess once a bully – always a bully. Or at least the fear is there.

I think I will try to spend some time with him. He needs to know he is a part of our family – even if he can’t be with us for a while. He needs to know I love him.

How I wish he wasn’t such a bully.

After I spend time with Thunder, I will go back into the house and listen to the others in my family. I know Jade will explain that Honey is downstairs and won’t come up because she is getting so heavy she doesn’t like to climb the stairs. (That and the fact that she is still leery of people – I think she was abused before she came to live with Jade and Mike.)

Anyway, when Jade starts talking about Honey needing to lose weight, I’m sure Mike will comment he needs to lose weight too.

I think I have heard him make that comment every year for nine years. This year, I think I know how to help him. Instead of having him play tennis with me by hitting the ball with the racket and having me chase it and bring it back to him, I think I will have Jade teach me how to use the racket.

Then, I will hit the ball and Mike can chase it and bring it back to me.

That should help him lose weight.

Unfortunately, the chance that I will get Mike to exercise like that is less than the chance that Thunder will quit bullying me.

But, I can hope. And dream.

And, I can wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy Holiday Season.

– Shadow