But if there are ghosts of Christmas' past folded into the pages of the picture books, then there are also a few hovering around the lintels. The whole place is awash with melancholia and echoes. I walked outside tonight to go to bed in the upstairs office and heard the jingle of a collar in the rose garden to my right. Out of the dripping, slimy plant skeletons I expected a furry black and white cannonball to blast— Baaaa-zaaaaaam!!—but, of course, no Luther kitty. Another fleeting individual in and out of my life, and one sorely missed.