"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

26 December 2008

My most unusual Christmas gift (moved)

I have a dear friend, who over the years has come to know most of my quirks and still seems to love me anyway, who has two cats. I'm allergic to them. I'm really not all that fond of cats by nature... my mother hates them (she doesn't even like it when cats meander through her yard). I don't hate cats, but I don't really bond with them either. Big fat fluffy cats with long fur are the closest I get to actually liking cats. In fact, there was once a cat named Motor who I referred to as the only cat I ever truly liked.

My friend knows I'm allergic to cats. She reminds me when I'm visiting her to take my Claritin first. She's a neat friend. Her cats hide from me, a reasonable truce.

What my friend may not know is that I love the big cats... those astonishing combinations of elegance and power... lions, leopards, panthers and tigers. I love to visit them in zoos. The way they move, the sleek of their fur, the subtle motion that says "I could take you down right now, if I felt like it, but instead, I think I'll just move over here where it's sunny and wait." They do wait. I don't know for what. Perhaps they understand that there is much worth waiting for. Perhaps they're just waiting for a tasty photographer to come along.

And nobody expects me to pet and get cuddly with their big cat. I don't have to get close enough to them to find out if they make my eyes water and itch. Nobody calls a lion fluffy and thinks that I should adore the cutsie way he catches mice (and men).

My friend definitely gave me one of the most interesting and unusual gifts I got this year. She gave me a snow leopard. Yes, my own personal snow leopard. Its out there somewhere, though she doesn't expect me to feed or pet it. I never have to take it to the groomer's either, which would be quite an expense, no doubt. I don't have to board it (yikes) or changes its litter box (double yikes). But I have my own real snow leopard.

Snow leopards are from Asia, like my favorite three year old. Maybe my snow leopard is also three years old.

My snow leopard comes with a little stuffed snow leopard. An exquisitely soft stuffed animal. It just so happened that the stuffed variety was liberated (in an environmentally conscious way that inovlved opening the bag and saving it for next Christmas because I'm too environmentally conscious (actually, the word is cheap) to throw nice bags away and buy new) from its gift bag right after a Disney stuffed animal, Po, the Kung-Fu Panda. My three year old Asian prince in exile loves Kung Fu Panda... now he had the hero, but who was the hero to fight? Well, it just so happens that the bad guy in the movie is a rather elegant snow leopard. A little brown hand shot out, and my stuffed snow leopard became Tai-Lung, Little guy's new cuddly buddy. (He does love it, too, though he's already had a good tussle between "Tai Lung" and Po. Tai-Lung won that round and "Guished" (Squished) Po by sitting on him.) Since she's one of his godmothers, I don't think my friend would mind that he claimed my gift.

But I stil have my real snow leopard. I do not have yet another random thing that I don't need. I am not depressed (random useless stuff depresses me). And whenever I want, I can borrow Tai-Lung for a very un-Kung-Fu-bad-guy-like squeeze. And out there somewhere is my real snow leopard, who I think I shall call Fluffy.

Merry Christmas.
And thanks, Ann.

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