This was supposed to be a magnificent post about the power of the internet and how it opened the Pandora’s box of the Information Age…it turned a small intimate post about the dog in the Christmas tree.
Here’s the backstory. I’m the eldest of four girls. Three of “The Sisters” (that’s how we refer to ourselves when we’re in a pack) live in paradise, also known as British Columbia, while I live in Calgary, also known as the place where it snows in August. I don’t see The Sisters as often as I’d like but we keep in touch over the internet, primarily through emails which circulate on a weekly basis. These emails carry news of joy, pain, sorrow and the plain old humdrum of everyday life. At Christmas time they buzz with details about who’s going to Mom and Dad’s place (also in paradise), when they’re going to get there and which of the semi-adult children will be with them.
Recognizing that I couldn’t visit the folks or The Sisters this year, Linda, the middle sister, suggested we share pictures of our Christmas trees. Rose, the next eldest, sent a lovely photo of a traditional tree. How she managed to string even one bauble, given the year she’s had, is beyond me. Jo, the youngest sent a gingerbread tree—a stunning achievement considering the girl never cooks let alone bakes.
Then Linda sent The Photo. It came in a jpg labelled “cat and tree”. I scoured that picture for 5 minutes and couldn’t find that wretched cat anywhere. I gave up and moved on to her note. It was only then that I discovered there was no cat in the tree. This comes as no surprise because (a) none of us has ever seen her wacko cat (it hates people and won’t come out from under the couch) and (b) Linda has always been, shall we say, a bit impish.
That prompted my photo—Ziggy in the Christmas Tree. It’s a picture of my daughter’s dog, a 100 pound black and gray Bouvier des Flandres. In order to find him think: Waldo (as in “where is…”). You’ve got 10 seconds. Go. (For those of you with failing eyesight and no patience, the solution appears at the end of the blog).
The sisters responded quickly. Rose loved it and suggested Ziggy should be wearing reindeer antlers. Jo came back with “I see Zoggy” (too much eggnog) and Linda thought we should just decorate the dog and skip the tree altogether (see what I mean about “impish”).
This delightful exchange, sparked by Linda’s “cat and tree” photo, reminded me of why I love the internet. It allows us to compress distance (1000 kilometers) and time (12 hours by car) to be a family.
The internet saga doesn’t end with The Sisters. My 84 year old parents shocked us all when Dad announced that he’d bought a second hand computer for $50. My father wanted it so that he could record his golf scores. The next thing I knew I received an email: “hi susan”. That was it. I whipped off an ecstatic reply. Nothing. My mother went for help and found a Windows for Dummies book. They argued for 30 minutes about how to reply to an email. Is Dad replying or sending? Mom said think about the computer as your secretary (he’s never had a secretary), you receive a letter and tell your secretary to send a reply. (I’ll bet that cleared it up).
I’m not sure what happened but a week later Dad wrote to my husband: “Hello Roy This is your Father in law calling to let you know I entered the Computer age.” Yipee, we have lift off! Enthusiastically I fired off “Ziggy in the Christmas Tree” with instructions on how to click on the jpg to open it and how to close it (take the arrow up to red X). Dad sent a reply: he couldn’t find Ziggy, all he could see were photos of Jo in Hawaii and Rose in a Halloween costume (Huh??).
Luckily Mom and Dad have their own personal IT guy—Rose’s husband. Thank god he really is an IT guy and is used to responding to questions like “where did all the icons go?” Mom says Dad needs to stop hitting YES whenever he’s given the choice. I’m awestruck. If two eccentric Hungarians can conquer the internet anything is possible.
Right, it’s time to show you the answer to Where’s Ziggy? Here’s an enhanced version of Ziggy in the Christmas Tree. You couldn’t see him at first because you were dazzled by the Christmas tree lights and were searching for a 100 pound dog, but if you look carefully at the bottom of the tree you’ll see Ziggy’s head, his pointy ears and one soft dark eye looking right at you. Once you’ve discovered how to see him, you’ll always be able to see him. He’s like the internet, once you’ve discovered how to use it, there’s no going back.
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad, Rose, Linda, Jo and their families. And Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you and your families.
PS If you have a photograph of your dog, cat, or goldfish in a Christmas tree, send it to me.
PPS No Linda, you can’t photoshop Tigger into the tree.