I could tell we were zeroing in on That Most Wonderful Time of the Year when Santa Monkey, Rudolf and Mr. Moose came out of the storage bin and into the living room. Stockings and lights were hung. And the best part: My favorite big brown truck started coming more often. December must be some kind of mating season for the big brown trucks; I’ve seen them congregate in the parking lot of the former Bill the Butcher store at the bottom of our hill, rear end to rear end, in broad daylight. I’m certain something’s going on.
My personal favorite UPS driver has lots of deliveries in our neighborhood. More than once, Mike and I crossed paths with his truck before we even got to our corner. Of course, Mr. UPS throws two biscuits my way every time. So after I scarf them off the pavement (unless Mike grabs one first so I don’t wolf them down), we don’t walk towards the park as usual. Instead, I lead Mike along Magnolia Boulevard and its cross streets, hoping to meet the brown truck again. Even when I can’t hear it, its scent hangs in the moist December air. Or maybe it’s the scent of Milk Bones.
So for the past few weeks, I kept dragging Mike through the neighborhood, noting the tasteful light displays and chortling at the ugly ones. If I sensed we were closing in on the truck, I’d start to walk faster, but I had to be careful, because if Mike saw the truck before I did, he tried to steer me in the wrong direction. If I spied it first and got some forward momentum, however, there was no stopping me.
One day I caught him twice, and Mr. Brown gave me double Milk Bones both times. I call that my Ghost of Christmas Past moment. At the other extreme, my version of the dreaded Christmas Future: One day a big brown truck roared up the street near the water tower on Dravus, a favorite destination of mine. I waited for it by the curb, expecting two biscuits to fly my way. But the truck went right past me, turned the corner and stopped.
I dragged Mike across the street after it, and sat on the sidewalk between the truck and the house, waiting expectantly. In the truck were a driver and a runner, neither my guy. The runner smiled, told me I was cute, but shook his head sorrowfully. “No treats,”he said, showing me his empty palms. The truck drove down the block and stopped again. I followed, and sat. The first time must have been some kind of mix up, I figured. Nothing. After I repeated this futile exercise a third time, I finally believed it. I let the truck drive off, but I was hardly done: I ordered Mike to write down the truck number, and I will be reporting this incident to UPS world headquarters in Atlanta. Two biscuits should be a right, not a privilege.
I’ve noticed several boxes arrived on our own doorstep of late, some of them even left courtesy of my own Mr. Brown (while I was apparently napping soundly? At least he left biscuits!). Maybe something arrived for me and Mike and Heather are hiding it until the big day. I’m confident, actually. I know I’m going to go to bed on Christmas Eve with visions of new toys and treats dancing in my head, and I fully expect to be rewarded in the morning. I mean, how good does a good dog have to be?