“Hey who turned out the lights?” Fido demanded.
“Fido, the lights are on. Nobody has turned them off.”
“No, I mean outside. I get up in the morning and it’s dark on our morning walk. When we get home, it’s dark again.”
“It’s just the season, Fido.”
“I don’t like it.”
“Golly, you big old oaf, it’s just the season. It’ll get light again, one of these months, and you’ll complaining about who turned up the heat.”
“But I can’t see a thing!”
“Relax, Fido. You’re not totally diurnal, like humans. You have a fine nose, and better night vision than me, that’s for sure.”
“What’s diurnal got to do with it?” Fido asked. “Never used one in my life.”
“Fido, I think you’re getting mixed up again. It’s diurnal, as in daytime and sight-oriented, rather than nocturnal, which is all about what happens in the dark of night.”
“Well, I still have never used a diurnal,” Fido said, “and I’m not about to start now.”
I tried to change the subject. That’s not hard to do with Fido.
“One of the reasons people display Christmas lights is all about the dark nights,” I said. “It goes back to the Yule thing.”
Fido stopped in his tracks and scrunched up his face as he considered this.
“You’ll what?” he asked.
“No no, no. It’s Yule, not “you’ll.”
“I get it! Hey hey hey hey! You’ll what?”
“It’s YULE, ya big mutt! YULE!”
“Wow, you really don’t have to shout! Yule have a heart attack!”
“No Fido, in this case, it’s ‘You’ll.’ As in you’ll have a heart attack.”
“I’m going to have a heart attack?”
“Fido, sometimes it’s all Abbott and Costello with you and me.”
“Yule, not ‘You’ll.’ Get it?”
“There are lots of ways to mark the longest nights and the shortest days, Fido. Ever hear of the Solstice? Stonehenge?”
“I’m going to mark Stonehenge?!?!?” Fido snorted a laugh.
“Stop it, Fido.”
“Did these things go through the Hound Council?”
“They have nothing to do with politics, old boy. Neither does Christmas, which fits right in with all the other stuff. And in Mammoth, we have the ‘Night of Lights,’ and that’s always a blast.”
“Can you explain Yule to me again?”
“Not really,” I said. “It’s wrapped up in a month-long thing, and there’s a log thrown in there somewhere. A Yule Log.”
“This is getting complicated,” Fido said.
“Just relax,” I said. “It’s all about holidays and good cheer, a turning point in the year, a change in the seasons, all of that, rolled into one. And there’s basketball, too.”
“And presents!” Fido chimed in. “Like biscuits!”
“Yes, Fido, there are Christmas presents, too,” I said.
“Will it start to get light again then?”
“Yeah, but you’re probably not going to notice it for a while. The daylight thing takes time.”
Fido flopped down onto the ground.
“I’m still not going to use a diurnal,” he said, “and that’s that.”
“Oh Fido, you big red lug. I love you so.”