For as long as I remember, it has been a Christmas Eve tradition in the Bricken household to go door-to-door and sing.
So, Grandma and I squeezed into to Bart’s old truck and off we went with Wendy, Pastor Lucas and wife Tonya bringing up the rear. We stopped to carol for Arnie and Amos Thralling who surprised us all by saying they, too, would like to join us for the festivities. Wendy’s small Subaru wagon-type had just enough room for two more. Our last stop was Bernice Tellamoot’s.
Mrs. Tellamoot has a small, tidy cabin in the most remote area of the Cove. She also has a beautiful companion. His name is Benny and, for all of you that have not read his story in Ingress: He is a white wolf who mysteriously arrived and took up residence with Mrs. Tellamoot. Wolves are part of my people’s history. Benny taking up residence in the Cove would give this place a revered status in days gone by.
But, back to the story. We started singing. Mrs. Tellamoot opened her door, a big smile on her face. Benny bounded into our small group, sat down in our midst, raised his head to the starlit sky and gave a slight, “hap, hap,” when a particular song put him in the mood.
Now, Arnie Thralling loves to sing but, as my granddad would say, “he can’t carry a tune in a silver bucket.” And, this man can belt out the songs! My ears were ringing from the off-key baritone so I was glad when we came to the final song, Oh Holy Night. At the refrain, Fall on your knees…. Arnie gave it everything. So much so that his voice cracked. This was Benny’s cue. He through his head back and let out a howl that would have curled the hair on the back of my neck – if I hadn’t known it was Benny. The entire group went silent and stared at the white wonder.
From deep woods came a response. We all turned in unison to face the darkness. A majestic grey wolf emerged from the stand of trees. Three others flanked him. They began to advance; we began to retreat.
We were just about pinned against Mrs. Tellamoot’s deck when Benny charged to the front, planted his muscular front legs and growled. Benny lowered his head and he took a step forward. The lead wolf stood his ground and snarled a response. Benny took another step forward. (And, what were the humans doing you ask? Standing like helpless ice sculptures, that’s what!)
The standoff lasted only seconds but felt like hours to me. For no apparent reason, the leader yelped, broke eye contact, turned and raced into protection of the forest. The other three followed. Benny wheeled, sat and gave another howl to the night sky. This time, there was no response.
I do not understand how animals communicate but I believe it is as much unspoken as it is verbal. What I do understand is that I witnessed a miracle and a gift from God. Then I remembered I was singing songs because of the most amazing gift of all — Jesus Christ. I’m still singing carols. That night, Christmas became a 365-day event!
Until next time