Every year after we decorate the Christmas tree, I take a photo of the wooden village beneath it. The village was a gift from my parents many years ago. My father built the little houses, shops, church, museum, and castle; my mother painted them. Little kids who come to our house — and sometimes adults too — will spend hours lying on the floor, playing with the pieces and imagining life in this little utopian world.
As I pulled the village out of the box this year, spreading white sheets on the floor beneath the Christmas tree to simulate snow-covered ground, I imagined writing a nice blog post about the village. I figured I’d take a sweet photo of the neighbor kids playing with the village. Little Biker Boy had already asked about it. Or perhaps I’d take a picture of Rogue, the cat who had already curled up near the castle, as if she were guarding the village.
But last night, just as my husband and I were snuggling in bed with a laptop, ready to watch the latest Big Bang Theory, Shaggy Hair Boy burst into our bedroom. “Uh, something bad happened in the Christmas Village.”
I leaped up. “One of the cats?”
Trouble, a grey male cat, had walked over to the village, stood right on the tin foil skating pond, and sprayed urine across the houses, the figurines, the cotton drifts of snow. It’s not the first natural disaster to hit the Christmas village — one year Skater Boy fell into it and broke the ice pond mirror — but I think it might be the most foul. Those poor little ceramic ice skaters never knew what hit them.
I yanked up the wet sheets to throw them in the washer, ranted about how I hated all things feline, and piled the village on the kitchen counter to be washed. So instead of a lovely photo of the Christmas village nestled under the tree, here’s a photo of houses and figurines piled into a colander to be washed.