Having an electric fence during the holiday season is a good time to test the effectiveness of the technology.  There are lots of pros and cons about electric fences that can be debated for hours, but the one that really matters is your personal experience.  When I go home for the holiday, it’s to my uncle’s house.  He lives on a cul-de-sac and his yard stands out, not just for the beautiful landscaping around his large house, but because his is one of the few that doesn’t have a visible fence.  Most of his neighbors have dogs and small children.  They have enclosed their yards to protect them.  My uncle has an invisible fence to keep his dogs in check.   Guests never have trouble picking his house out.

Spending time there is fun now that our grandmother lives with him. Since the death of our beloved grandfather a few years ago, we spend the holidays there and look forward to seeing her at his house now.  We miss Gramps and his corny jokes about breaking the turkey’s wishbone, and how he used to slip us kids a little taste of wine when our granny wasn’t looking.  And this year, I won’t even protest when my uncle makes us all get up and “earn” our turkey dinner by taking a walk around the block.  This is a tradition he started years ago.  We’ve learned to make it a fun part of the family tradition.  For years, he was in the Army.  The discipline he learned is ingrained so deeply into his personality, we weren’t surprised to learn he had gone through an ACE Personal Trainer Course and started teaching classes at a local gym.  We were surprised to learn that he used a Groupon coupon code to save money on it.  But he said he got a 20% military discount for being a retiree, and saved more on some additional classes he’s taken since.

Last year, after the usual walk, we settled in for our meal.  For the first time in 41 years, instead of turning to her beloved husband and asking him to say grace, she placed her hand on her eldest son’s shoulder as a signal to do it.  It was the first time we ever saw him shed a tear.

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