Who says angels can’t be furry? And have a big pink mouth and giant brown feet?
Hector didn’t begin life as an angel. The happy little hand puppet was a 21st birthday present from my BFF, Zan, the month before I set out from Massachusetts to California with my mother in an LTD station wagon packed full of our earthly goods. He relaxed on the bench seat between us down the Eastern Seaboard and shared our shock as, driving from Nashville to Memphis, we heard about the death of Elvis. He quaked as we drove through blinding sheets of rain in Arkansas and dodged bats at an eerily dark campsite in southern Texas. He soothed me as I experienced my first desert—all that empty space and endless horizon freaked out this suburban girl. He settled with us in Orange County, where we decided to start our new life.
What possessed me to top our tree with him that first Christmas is lost in the mists of time. Probably a combination of frugality and my warped sense of humor—we called it his evergreen enema. The following year, The Boyfriend wholeheartedly embraced my whimsical tree topper. Is it any wonder he got upgraded to The Husband?
It’s funny how the trees have gone from full greenery to table top and lately, usually a tiny fake tree our cats have no interest in. But Hector has always gotten his chance to shine, even in the years when the Christmas spirit has eluded me. Some years, we set him on a live wreath because a tree was just too much work. I do love the scent of fresh evergreens, so even if there’s no tree, there’s usually at least a live wreath.
I’m not the neatest person but, through several moves over the years and mad searches for everything from hair scrunchies to house deeds, there has never been a minute when I didn’t know where Hector was. He’s lived in various cabinets and drawers. Right now, he’s in residence in my bathroom, chillin’ on the counter.
Most Christmases I’ve sent a picture of Hector striking his annual pose to Zan. Yup, through the years and the miles, we’re still BFF’s, who’ve progressed from inch thick letters in the 70’s to email in the 90’s and text messages in the 2000’s.
Hector may just look like a crazy mix of fake fur and felt with an eyebrow created by the unlikely coupling of Frida Kahlo and Groucho Marx to you. But, like any prized possession, the value is in our hearts. I’ve infused that collection of fabrics with my natural affection for quirkiness, shared memories and the love of the giver. That’s how he’s become so much more than the sum of his sewn together parts.
He may not look like a traditional angel but he’s certainly been my guardian angel for the past 44 years.
Merry Christmas from Hector and me!!