Paris Goodnight: Christmas gatherings aren’t always peaceful, harmonious

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 1, 2023

Christmas gatherings can be painful, particularly if you’ve lost a loved one during the year or you don’t get along with some of the family members brought together in close confines once a year. For whatever reason, such occasions are not always simple and pleasant as they should be.

For others of course it’s the most wonderful time of the year. And so we try to make it as much like that for everyone as we can.

Let’s go into new year like the little child at our holiday gathering who hopped right up into the lap of a family friend who was visiting, just as if she’d known her forever —  having no fear and knowing in this setting no one would do anything but love on her.

I’m sure that’s what we’ve heard when we were told to have faith like a little child. If only we could all be more like that in our daily activities.

That’s the exact opposite of what one poor little doggie suffered when running out to greet a newly arriving pit bull, only to be viciously attacked and ending up at the emergency vet’s with serious wounds when the aggressive dog wouldn’t detach from the happier dog’s leg.

I only heard the tales of the dog attack from a former co-worker, so it may have been worse in my imagination through the way it was described. But not likely.

On the other hand, I witnessed the little girl’s unabashed hop up into the lap of the visitor

I also have a dog of my own that loves running out to meet new people, all in hopes of a treat or possibly that someone will toss a flying toy for him to catch, like he has convinced my neighbor to do often. In fact, whenever the dog goes outside now, his first instinct is to look next door and see if perhaps his frisbee-tossing buddy is also outside. If not, then he bounds on looking for some other fun to get into or some other tasty morsel left on the ground somewhere close by to sniff out.

He’s happy to search out a toy left outside to carry over to the neighbor’s just in case there’s some playtime to come in his future.

If the tossing game begins, it will never stop until the human arm tires out — because the dog getting winded has not happened, or not that I’ve seen anyway.

So if you’ve walked downtown and seen the sign in a storefront window, maybe we should all follow its advice heading into the new year and decide in the world filled with pit bulls and Putins, we should be Zelenskyys — or little girls with no fear and full of faith.

Maybe we’ll find ways to keep the bad characters on a short leash without the ability to cause such misery for others just trying to do good. That’s easier said than done, even after the fact of witnessing the horrors already inflicted. Often there’s nothing of consequence that happens to the bullies or biters.

But lets try to go into new places and meet new people without fears of what might happen and have that little girl in mind as we dodge pitfalls in our way — keep our eyes open and leashes handy.

Paris Goodnight is editor of the Salisbury Post.