"Christmas trees don’t come before Thanksgiving" by: Jessica Shepard

   Sadly, October is now over and we’re barreling straight into November with no chance at slowing down.
   Well, at least until Thanksgiving.
   The only problem I’ve noticed is that my mom is in the mood to decorate for Christmas early.
   And I’m seriously blaming Walmart for some of that!
   I mean, no sooner than they had Halloween decorations up, then they were clearing out aisles near the garden center for Christmas bits and bobs.
   Though, to be honest, mom asked to get those decorations down from the attic over the weekend.
   I protested loudly - naturally.
   Not just because I hate going up into the attic or hauling all 20-plus totes downstairs.
   No, I also protested because it’s messing with one of our time-honored family traditions.
   We get together every Thanksgiving as a family, cook up the usual feast and after a brief mid-afternoon nap, we venture into the attic for the tree and several bins full of decorations.
   It’s just one of my peeves when someone messes with my traditions.
   Lately, that’s happened a lot more in our community than at home though.
   But, after we get everything from the attic, we spend the remainder of the day decorating or making repairs to the tree.
   Like last year, we had to completely re-string all of the lights and devise a color-coded marker system to make sure we could get all the strands connected.
   And I feel like I should mention that the tree, when lit, was quite warm and sheltered many sleeping cats beneath it.
   We were lucky last year and didn’t lose too many ornaments to the cats or dogs.
   This year will prove more interesting though.
   I only say that because we’ve got a new family member added to our ranks at the Reddell house.
   Somehow, probably via an illegal drop-off, we acquired a new, all-black male kitten at the end of September.
   He’s currently been under quarantine via veterinarian orders due to a skin problem.
   But, he’s finishing up his round of antibiotics and has vastly improved since we found him outside under the carport.
   After noticing his beautiful green eyes and a playful attitude, I dubbed him “Loki.”
   Mom still talks big about fostering him a bit then finding him a forever home somewhere else.
   But, I’ve seen her babying him, so, I think that’s an empty threat.
   The only thing I’m really worried about is how the other animals will treat him and how he’ll handle all the temptations that a lit Christmas tree provides all cats.

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