O cummm, all ye faithfulllll. Cummm cummm cummm, it's Christmas.

I was just singing that! Oh my god! That's how girls talk. I always find it funny myself. Why the vocal fries? The truth is though I shouldn't be making the jokes—I was just singing that. I'm a big caroler. When I espy the Christmas lights going up across the street on the sad retired man's house, I know that the holidays are here. Come-a come-a come-a, down my chim-ney, hey! It is almost Christmas time now! All you faith-ful, friends or whatever, lis-ten to me sing—-holidays!

If you were to transcribe it in a phonetic way it would sound like "A roooo, roooo roo roooo, a-rooo roooo rooo, Roo roooo." I don't have lips. Big deal!!! You can trust me when I tell you that the holiday season has no bigger booster than me. If I had a booster seat—and I did once, but let's not get into that right now—I would humbly give up that booster seat and allow the holidays to sit in it. As I've often said when whiling away the hours by a crackling winter time fire, "Santa is my main man-ta!" Prior to Santa, my main manta was Omar, a manta ray I met off of Fernandina Beach in the summer of aught nine. Omar was a gem. He passed away and only then did I select a new main manta. I assure you of that much.

Well well. It seems that we find ourselves once again at Christmas time. Another year has passed by. I have been in the house, out of the house, in the yard, on the street. I have seen and done it all and I am only getting better with each passing season. I hope that you can say the same for yourself. Let me get serious for a second: I love you. Is this not the fundamental truth of the holiday spirit? Simple love. A joyous cacophony of loving embrace. An aura of kind blessing and bites. A mutual agreement to respect and not bite one another in an aggressive way, but only in a fun way. A pinch of warmth. A nip of friendship.

I know that I am not always easy. I live in your house. I consider it my house, but it's been pointed out to me often, by you, in your angrier moments, when you have "lost your cool," that the house is in fact yours, and that you have pieces of paper that allegedly prove that. I will for the moment refrain from demolishing this argument with facts. In the holiday spirit I will acknowledge that the house is yours, and that I just live there, and by the way thank you for all the food you bought me this year. Just so you know I would be fine even if you didn't buy me food—I have an extensive network of outdoor food sources in the area about which I will say no more—but I sure do appreciate the fact that you do buy me that food. It sure is nice. And, my friend, I got you a little something, as a token of my appreciation, and of my love, for you, this Christmas season.

It's a stick.

Without getting into it too much I'll just tell you this is the best stick on this entire side of our block, and if Charles across the street tries to tell you any different, let's just say he's a sore loser with a remarkably weak set of jaws. Okay? Let's just leave it at that. This is the supreme stick. There is not a more symmetrical stick as far as the eye can see down our block, through all of the back yards. Most anyone would be drooling over this stick. Wanting to chew it up. Chew it and chew it and chew it. I know I do. I want to chew it so bad. But I did not. My friend, I saved it for you. Merry Christmas.

What's this? You got me something too? I won't say that you shouldn't have because you totally should! This was unexpected, but I won't argue with it. A present for me? Anything that feels so right has got to be right (my saying). Yes—please yes—let me tear into that brightly colored wrapping paper with my slobbering canines. Let me cast aside the audacious bow with a violent shake of my rippling neck. Let me lick the glue off of the tape to loosen it just enough to reveal the contents hidden within. At last, I have reached the present's promise. The unveiling of my gift is upon us! Here it is...

It's a stick.



It's just what I wanted. [Crying now but on the inside because of my tear duct disorder]

Merry Christmas, my friend. I just might have a brand new main man-ta. When Santa dies.

[Image by Jim Cooke]