Jake learned how to use his crutches, so he slept upstairs in his room again.
About those crutches. They were strange-looking, long sticks, and he put them under his arms, then held on to them with his hands and tried to walk around with them while holding his hurt foot up. I didn’t understand it.
It really looked dangerous to me. When he was going up to bed, walking with them on the stairs, Mommy and Daddy walked behind him, to catch him if he fell. I was scared he was going to fall a couple of times. Daddy told Jake it would get easier and easier. I sure hoped so.
Anyway, since he wasn’t sleeping down in the living room anymore, Bruce found me and Mama in the downstairs bathroom and asked us if we wanted to go play with the Christmas tree. “They’re all asleep,” Bruce told us.
“Yes, yes, let’s do.” I bounced, jumped into the tub, then out again.
“Shh.” Mama bumped her head on mine. “You’ll wake them.”
We sneaked into the living room to check things out.
“I’d like to get some of those cute balls to roll around again.” Bruce walked over to the tree.
“And look.” Mama joined him. “They’ve hung up some candy canes. Remember those, Bruce? They taste sparkly.”
“I want to play with some of those stringy icicles.” I gave Bruce’s tail a light tug with my teeth.
“Okay, so let’s figure out how to get this stuff,” Bruce said.
We all sat down a minute, staring at the tree and thinking.
“Millie.” Mama flicked her tail. “I bet you can jump up high enough to knock down a few of those balls for Bruce.”
I was sure I could. I was a good jumper.
I walked to the bottom of the tree and looked up. “Okay, here I go.”
Jumping up, I grabbed on to one of the branches with my front paws. “Ouch.” Those branches were sharp.
I landed back on the floor.
Mama came and purred at me while I sniffled. “That hurt, Mama.”
“I know it did. I’m sorry.” She licked my paws where the sharp things scratched them. “You have to be ready for them, and try to keep your feet very light on the branches. Do you want to try again? I think you can do it.”
I was happy to have Mama trusting me. “I’ll try again.”
Finally I managed to knock three of the balls out. Mama and I played with them for a while with Bruce, batting them and running after them and rolling them to each other. Bruce made a low growl when he had one in his mouth, but his eyes laughed. I growled back at him. This was fun.
Then we got tired of that game.
Bruce pointed with his nose. “I think I can reach up high enough to knock down a couple of candy canes.”
“Do it, do it.” I bounced. “I want to try them.”
While Bruce stood on his tiptoes and stretched his head high to reach the candy canes, Mama and I chewed at some of the lower branches. They did taste good. When Mama was chewing on one higher up, she knocked down a little glass animal ornament.
“Oops.” Mama stepped back a little. “I think that’s a reindeer. I don’t think it’s broken.” She gave it a gentle push. “I’m going to scoot it behind the tree, and maybe they’ll think it just fell.”
Bruce was able to knock down two of the candy canes for us. He bit them, so we could get the plastic off, and then we three shared them. Bruce loved them. Mama thought they were something special. I thought they were okay, but I liked chewing on the tree branches more.
Then we all three jumped and grabbed a few of the icicles. Bruce lay down on the floor and chewed a few. Mama held the end of one icicle in her mouth and swung it back and forth, and I chased it and batted at it. Then I held one for her.
We were having such fun.
When Mama chased me behind the tree, I got my feet caught up in the cord that hung from the lights to plug them into the wall. Oh, no.
I jumped back, trying to get my feet out, but I couldn’t. I yanked hard. The cord with the lights pulled loose from the tree, knocking ornaments off with it.
Lights and wooden horses and colorful balls and pretty glass pieces and a whole bunch of icicles scattered all over the living room floor. Even a couple of Ruthie’s paper ornaments fell.
Mama and Bruce and I hurried out of the living room and found different places in the house to hide and tried not to worry too much.
Daddy was the first to come downstairs the next morning. I hid behind the couch and peeked out to see what he would say about the mess.
He walked right through the living room and even stepped on a few ornaments. But he didn’t notice. He just went right into the kitchen and turned on the coffee pot. Daddy made a stretchy, yawny noise and poured food into Bruce’s bowl.
“Bruce, boy, where are you? Come and eat.” He yawned again.
Mommy came downstairs then and stopped. “What in the world?”
“Bruce, where are you?” Daddy called again from the kitchen.
“Caleb, what happened here?” Mommy turned on a light in the living room.
I stayed behind the couch, peeking out. My mama and Bruce were nowhere to be seen.
Mommy laughed. “Honey, did you see this? How did we sleep through all this noise?” She bent down and picked up some ornaments.
“What?” Daddy walked back into the living room. “Whoa, look at this.”
Ruthie ran down the stairs. “What happened?” She looked around, and her mouth opened wide. Then she giggled and said, “Bruce, did you do that?”
I saw Bruce then, slinking outside the door to the hall. Mama stood behind him.
Jake came down last, moving bumpity, bumpity down the stairs with his crutches. He snorted. “I don’t know if Bruce is behind this. He’s never done this big a job on the Christmas tree before. Where’s your Millie at, bug?”
Uh-oh. I had sneaked out a little from behind the couch, but now I tried to scoot back. Jake saw me though and pointed one of his crutches at me. “There she is.”
“Millie, did you do this?” Ruthie ran over and picked me up. “You silly kitty, did you play with the Christmas tree?” She squeezed me and kissed my face.
Bruce and Mama came into the room then.
“I bet she had some help.” Daddy pointed at Bruce and Mama as he bent down to pick up ornaments.
“They all do look kind of guilty,” Jake said, finally getting to the bottom of the stairs. “It’s okay. That reindeer picture you made is a little torn, bug, but I think it looks even better now.”
Ruthie stuck out her tongue at him, then tickled me under my chin. “You’re a funny little Christmas kitty, Millie.” She set me down in the middle of the floor with all the ornaments, then stepped back and clapped her hands. “Take a picture, Daddy.”
Oh, I loved getting my picture taken. I sat up straight and looked right at Daddy. Ruthie had shown me pictures of me on the little boxes they call phones. It’s great how they can do that.
The family finished picking up the ornaments and fixing the lights on the tree. “I think this is about as good as we’re going to get it, honey,” Daddy said. “Unless we start all over again.”
“It’s fine,” Mommy said. “Jake, maybe you need to sleep on the couch again and keep guard over the tree.”
“I think they’ve learned their lesson.” Jake bumped his crutch against Bruce where he still crouched in a corner.
The people all went to eat breakfast, and Mama and Bruce and I stayed out of the way for a while. “Whew,” Mama said.
“Let’s go find somewhere to be quiet,” Bruce said. “I think it’ll be okay.”
We sure had a nice people family.