—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

541 773-3373

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On Santa’s third day of his December wandering, he chose Germany, Bavaria, specifically, because he had a particular fondness for his Bavarian Costume. He thought he looked good in brown, even though he mostly wore red.

What the heck, it’s what people expected and he hated to disappoint.

He steered Rudy and Crew to an out of the way wheat field. It was dark, the farmer and his wife were dead to the work, thanks to a drug induced sleep.

However, their daughter, Linda, who’d been named after the American singer, Linda Ronstadt, was wide awake and terrified. Because, her Uncle Rolf was in the house and she knew what he was. He’d made that very clear.

But Santa knew what he was too and he knew if left unchecked, Rolf would go to far and Linda would be dead in an hour. And then Rolf, beside himself, would kill her parents in an effort to make it look like a murder suicide.

It wasn’t going to work and Rolf would wind up spending the rest of his days behind bars.

Now there’s a couple things about Santa most people don’t know. He’s got a pretty good working relationship with God and a better one with the Devil. When Santa knocks on their doors, they answer.

And so, as he powered his way through the wheat, he pondered his problem. He was going to take the uncle’s life, but he needed to know if there was any good in him. The big guy upstairs would probably say there was and he’d want Santa to let things play out, free will and all.

But he didn’t wanna let things play out. Sometimes one just had to break the rules and this is why he got along with the Devil, just a little better than the Big Guy. So, he sent his thoughts the Devil’s way, wanting to make sure he’d take Rolf’s soul and never let it get away.

“Glad to oblige,” Lucifer answered, but you know who’s not gonna like it.”

“I’ll take my chances.”

“And I’ll take the soul.”

So Santa entered the farmhouse, don’t ask how, he has his ways, after all he’s got lots of experience getting into people’s homes. Inside, he went to the guest bedroom, just as Rolf was getting out of bed.

“Who are you?” the man was belligerent.

“The last person you see in this life,” Santa said. And he took Rolf’s life with a look. The man fell back on his bed and a puff of black smoke, most folk can’t see, left his mouth, moved toward the floor and vanished through it.

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The problem with Rolf solved, Santa went to Linda’s room to find her cowering under her Christmas blanket.

“Santa.” She smiled.

“It’s me,” he said and they talked awhile and then, before he left , he told her everything was going to be fine and to stay in her room till dawn and by then Rolf would be gone and he wouldn’t be coming back.

He made her promise she wouldn’t leave, then he sent a thought to his head elf, telling him to send a body removal detail to his current location.

That taken care of, he decided it was time to enjoy himself, after all he’d done his good deed.

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Outside, he’d found the sky had turned a brilliant blue and there was a freshness in the air. He fought a smile, keeping a scowl on his face as he chuckled under his breath.

“Thanks for not getting too upset.” Santa sent his thoughts upward, toward the heavens.

But the Big Guy didn’t answer. He was like that sometimes, however Santa knew everything was a-okay, because, mysterious as the Big Guy tries to be, He really isn’t very mysterious at all.

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So much for the lowlands, Santa wanted to wander around in Snow, because his costume was designed to keep him warm in the coldest of weather, so back into the field of wheat he went where he climbed back into his sleigh and guided his reindeer to the mountains, where he knew there was a quaint village which had a world class pub in it.

He wanted a drink, to celebrate his good deed and not just a Corona this night. He thought a good twenty-five year old Scotch was in order and he knew just the place

However, as he neared the town, the Big Guy sent him a thought. He had a request and a request from Him is not to be ignored. Not by Santa, not by anyone, not even by the Devil himself.

So, taking a slight detour, he landed outside the mayor’s house, which was outside the village. Mr. Mayor had built his daughter a world class play house and this night and every night till Christmas, it was and would be lit up by a world class Christmas tree.

Once there, he went inside playhouse and waited.

And half the night later, the Mayor’s daughter came out, carrying her kitten, Mahitable, in her arms.

“I knew you’d be out here,” she said.

“Come here and tell me what you want for Christmas.” Santa must have said that to a million kids over the years.

“I only want one thing,” the little girl said.

“What’s that?”

“I don’t want my mom and dad to be sad after I die.”

“Then, I suppose, you better not die.” He reached for her hand and held it tight as a special energy flowed through him to her. It only took an instant, but in that instant, her leukemia was gone.

“You fixed me,” the child said.

“It’s our secret,” he said.

“How about Mommy and Daddy?”

“Okay, you can tell them. But nobody else, promise?”

“Promise,” she said and he knew it was a promise she’d never break. The doctors would be baffled, befuddled and confused, but they’d get over it.

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Fifteen minutes later, Santa had that Scotch. He drank it slow, because he never, well almost never, had more than one drink in an evening. After all, drinking and flying is not recommended, even if your reindeer do know the way. It took him a good half hour to devour that Scotch. And then, he was about to have a second, which, as I said is very rare, when all of a sudden in is mind’s eye he saw a lost boy out in the snow.

Without help, the boy would freeze.

There was a dog with him, but it wasn’t the boy’s dog. In fact, the dog had no human at all to take care of, because the beloved woman he’d been with since he was a puppy had just that evening, passed away in her sleep. She’d been ninety-seven, her time had come and she’d been ready.

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Outside the pub, he took a quick glance at the quaint village, where he thought he would be relaxing the night away till dawn, then with determination, he set out toward the lost boy. The child, he knew, was bundled against the cold and he’d not yet realized he was lost and Santa wanted to get there before he did, before he got scared.

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But once Santa got to the child, he realized his intuition had been a little off. This mission, if mission it were, was not about the boy. True, he was lost, but he wasn’t too far out of town and he was sitting on his sled in the middle of a road. Probably sooner rather than later, someone would have come along and taken the lad home.

No, this wasn’t about the boy.

This was about the dog.

Santa reached down, and like he often did with his reindeer, he scratched the dog between the ears. “Her name is Dancer,” Santa told the boy, like one of my reindeer. And she’s going to lead you home.”

“Are you the real Santa?” the boy asked.

“I am.” He smiled, for the first time that night. Then said. “She will be a faithful friend, but you have to take care of her. Can you do that?”

“Really, she’s mine?”

“She is.”

“I don’t think my mom will let me have a dog.”

“She might, after you tell her you were lost and how Dancer led you home.”

“Yeah,” the boy said, “She might.”

And Santa knew she would.

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His night’s work done, Santa made his way to his sled, climbed in and said, “Hey, Rudolf, let’s go over the Alps on the way back, you know how much I like the Alps.

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