TITLE: The Cat Who Stole Christmas
By Karen Heslink
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The Cat Who Stole Christmas
By Karen Heslink
As cats go (and we have had our fair share), Sidney was delightful. He actually belonged to my youngest daughter who pampered him like a baby. In all truth, Sidney owned the house, and we all knew it. He took what he wanted. No one ever reminded him that he was just a cat.
One lazy Sunday afternoon in December, we all headed to Manor Plaza to pick out our annual Christmas tree. After much trunk turning, fussing and even a little arguing, we chose a nice short-needle pine that stood about 6-feet high. Once we got it home, my husband settled the tree into its stand and began the arduous task of stringing the lights round and round. Once that was finished the girls and I got out our boxes of ornaments. Now these are not just ordinary ornaments. Every year, my mother gave each one of us a hand-made, needlepoint ornament. Over the years our collections grew. Each daughter had her own box and a list so we would always know which ornaments belonged in which box.
All the while we worked at trimming that tree, Sidney sat across the room and watched. It was almost as if he was making plans in his furry little head. After the girls went to bed, my husband and I noticed that Sidney had slowly inched his way across the living room and had taken up residence directly under the tree. Strangely though, he wasn’t sleeping. Rather, he was sitting there staring up into those branches. Once in a while he would bat one paw at a ornament, but quickly stopped when I admonished him.
Later that night, I heard Sidney come upstairs, set something down and then meow. Sleepy as I was, I told him to just go away. As far as I knew he did. The next morning when I woke up, there was a little trail of ornaments down the stairs and across the living room. I scooped them up and returned them to the tree. I knew who the culprit was. This happened every night until January 1st when we took the tree down.
As the girls and I took the ornaments off the tree, we checked our lists and counted to make sure we had every one in the right box. Once every ornament was off the tree, both my daughters looked upset. They were missing ornaments. I quickly checked my box, and sure enough, I was missing ornaments, too. Then I told them about Sidney and his nocturnal game. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking for the missing ornaments. We moved furniture, we swept in dark corners with mops and brooms, and we checked closets and baskets. We even opened all our dresser drawers. We did find a few in odd places, like behind the refrigerator, but many went unfound.
After living in that house for thirteen years, we decided to sell it and move into a quieter neighborhood. Do you know, as we packed and cleaned every inch of that house, we never did find another ornament. Sidney became known as the king of thieves. I just hope that where ever that hidey-hole is, someone someday will find the treasure buried there by one very clever cat.
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