Ho, ho, ho!! Tis the season to be jolly! It’s me, Ollie (also rhymes with Holly), James’ Old English Sheepdog, hoping you are having a wonderful holiday season. (Since there were so few comments to last weeks post, James still hasn’t gotten a tree or decorated our house, but I’ve got the Christmas spirit.)
If you’ve been reading my blog each week, you know that James and I go for a long walk every morning. (Unless it’s raining and he, well, let me simply say that I don’t mind the rain.) Well, we got to talking (James does all the talking, in case you were wondering), and he told me that he used to write a letter to Santa Clause every year until he was twenty years young (there he goes again, when I say old, he types young). So I asked him who Santa Clause was. That stopped him in his tracks. He knelt down and, taking my face into both of his hands, he asked me, “Don’t you remember last year? We got you a stocking with your name on it, and one for your friend Higgins, and we hung yours over the fireplace so Santa could fill it with goodies?” When I tilted my head, he got the message – I’d forgotten.
It being a sunny day and unseasonably warm, James sat on the grass. (The dew soaked through his pants and he had two wet spots when he got up, which made me giggle – but I’m getting ahead of myself and James doesn’t want to tell you any more about that.) Anyway, he told me that long ago, this little boy was lost and wondered up to the North Pole. These little people dressed in red and green rescued him. As he grew older and understood what had happened to him, he wanted to make sure that all good little puppies (James said boys and girls, but I knew what he meant) received gifts on a special day (or couple of days, depending upon what you choose to believe).
So, this boy, now a man, found eight female reindeer who could fly, and each year he would deliver gifts made by the little people by dropping through chimneys with a satchel of toys. Then one year after he’d aged and had white hair and beard, a man spied him up on his roof. And ever since he’s been given the name Santa Clause. And then James grew very serious and said, “You know, Santa was pretty much alone up there on the North Pole for most of the time. So one year, when he was caught by a little girl eating the cookies and milk she had left him, he made her promise never to tell anyone she had actually seen him.” Well, with that I tilted my head to the right and then the left and then the right again, I was so excited to know what happened. “Well,” James continued, “she said she could keep a secret and never told anyone. Then some years later there was a knock on Santa’s door. And do you know who it was?” When my eyes expanded as wide as they could, James knew I didn’t know, but that I wanted desperately to know. “It was that little girl all grown up. And she told Santa she was tired of keeping their secret and wanted to be his wife. Well, she became Mrs. Santa Clause!” James told me, throwing his arms up in the air as if he had confetti or snow to play with.
I jumped up and ran around and around, I was so exited. I even jumped up on James, which he doesn’t like at all, but this time he forgave me because he knew I was so happy to have heard this story. After I calmed down, we headed home, and James told me he had written a story – a poem actually – about Mrs. Santa Clause. He’d never done anything with it since it needed an illustrator. When I asked if he would read it to me, he said he would. And when I heard it, I knew we needed to share it with you even without illustrations (besides, I don’t know what illustrations are, so it didn’t matter to me – but James, well, he’d like to get an illustrator for this piece). So, here it is.
A CHRISTMAS EVE VISITOR As the workroom door opened candy canes swirled inside; every helper knew instantly their favorite person had arrived. The owner of the workshop looked on with a gleam for he knew that this visitor was certainly supreme. She smiled as broadly as her cherry cheeks could achieve, for she too enjoyed this special time – Christmas Eve. Her hair, like cotton candy, was as white as fresh snow; and her eyes shined true blue like a robin-egg’s glow. Her red satin gown was trimmed in white fur and deposited marshmallows all around her. She knew all the rhymes and every riddle, she especially knew how to make everyone giggle. When the carolers sang, who are notorious, she’d joyfully join in during the chorus. She began lending a hand, first a package for the sled, which they all could see contained gingerbread. She knew that each year she had to help prepare, so she cut a ribbon here, and she tied a bow there. For this very reason they could deliver the love that this holiday season is so characteristic of. Suddenly her eyes zoomed left and then whizzed right, then she rushed to the stairs as if in a fright. For she’d helped review the list of all the good girls and boys, and she knew gifts were amiss off their long list of toys. She descended each step in glints of silver glitter and was back before anyone could have missed her. Her arms were overflowing with toys for the worktables; so she lowered them and the workers began adding labels. But there was still more to do to care for her crew, for the presents couldn’t go out until there was absolutely no doubt that everyone had eaten, especially little things sweetened, which would ensure they were spry and would be able to fly. So to the kitchen she dashed faster than anyone could, and to the warm oven’s ash she added more wood to heat up her special stew and to warm her porridge that would see everyone through the night’s journey with courage. She set the eating-places for all her loving faces. As each ate to his fill all were quiet and still, except reindeer hooves near whose prancing they could hear; they were up on the roof top going hip, hip-pity clop. The moment had now arrived to bid a fond adieu, for there was one thing that she surely knew: This night would be remembered by young and by old, for the gifts they would receive as if each were made of gold. Waving a fond farewell, knowing she would see him soon, off flew this great man straight towards the moon. Smiling she turned to look at the twinkling sky; then she settled snugly in her bed by-and-by. And all through the night she could faintly hear sounds of wonder and right: The spreading of great cheer. Of that there can be no doubt, and I can surely say, because the wondrous lady we speak of is Mrs. Santa Clause. Who was known to say in her own special way, “No matter where in time yourself you might find and no matter what you believe here’s wishing every lad and lass a happy and joyous eve and a very Merry Christmas!”
We hope you liked the story. I asked James what Mrs. Santa Clause’s name is, but he wasn’t sure. So, if you’d like to suggest a name for her, please do so in the comments section of my blog. Or if you know an illustrator who might like to partner with James on this piece, let us know in a comment. Either way, I’d like to hear from you.
Until next week,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)
Paw Prints courtesy of www.pawsitivelyloved.com
“A Christmas Eve Visitor” poem © 2015 James Stack