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“Happy New Year, Fido!”
“It’s a new beginning, Big Boy. Out with the old and in with the new!”
I reached into the closet for Fido’s New Year’s hat. It’s a silver, pointy, cardboard thing with an elastic chinstrap, and on the front it says “Happy New Year.” Actually, Fido’s goofy New Year’s cap looks just like mine.
“I don’t get it.”
“Sometimes,” I said, adjusting Fido’s cap just so, “I forget you’re a dog.”
“That’s not an altogether bad thing, Reorge, but what’s a New Year?”
“It’s when we humans fool ourselves into thinking we can wipe the slate clean, begin anew, toss out all the old, sad, stuff and begin building some more, hopefully better stuff.”
“I still don’t get it.”
“Well, then, you tell me.”
Fido scrunched up his face in that way he has and thought for a moment or two. He cocked his big head to one side.
“Humans are so arbitrary,” he proclaimed.
“In my world, we don’t have years, and if we do, we have seven of them, so humans say. But I don’t know where one starts and another begins.”
“Fair enough,” I said. “Still, why don’t you indulge me just this once?”
“I would, if I could understand it. Is there a biscuit in this for me?”
“That’s a great idea, Fido. At midnight, I’ll drop a tennis ball from the loft, scamper on down the stairs, give you a big kiss and present you with a biscuit.”
“I don’t understand why this doesn’t happen every night.”
“Oh, Fido, it’s just a ritual, that’s all. It’s what we do. Every year we mark the calendar with special days. There’s New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and your birthday. They’re all coming right up. Then we have Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Aleks’s Birthday, Flag Day and the Fourth of July.”
“Wow,” Fido said. He wagged his stumpy tail back and forth. “I don’t know what to make of all of this.”
“But that’s not all,” I said. “There’s Easter in there somewhere, although nobody can figure out when it is from year to year, and then Memorial Day, Columbus Day; then there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah, and New Year’s Day all over again.”
“Wow,” Fido said. “I am beyond bafflement.”
“There are a lot more holidays, too,” I said. “Lots of religious holidays, regional holidays, more birthdays, and anniversaries, too.”
“So what makes New Year’s so important?” Fido wanted to know.
“I really don’t know, now that you mention it, you old, big, red, lug. I didn’t even mention Chinese New Year’s.”
“See what I mean?” Fido said. “Hey hey hey hey! Why don’t you just do what dogs do?”
“And what’s that, Fido?”
“Every day is a special day! There is always a biscuit! There is always a hat that says ‘Happy New Day!’”
“Fido, you are wiser than you let on. Let’s just start doing that. We can start today. Happy New Day, Fido.”
“And to you, too, Reorge.”