Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Poetry and personal essays have been included in hard & softcover book anthologies. Collections of her personal items/ photos/ memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of The Smithsonian.
Ho, Ho, Ho
“So what’d you eat out that you’ve indigestion?” Mrs. Claus questioned. “Bad enough this blizzard going on in NY will make travel bad, but you belching will blow more snow around.”
“Help me out tonight.” Santa quietly asked. “It’s 1948. You haven’t yet made a run with me.”
“Oy.” Mrs. Claus reached for Alka Seltzer. “Drink! Let’s go. What continent first?”
“Let’s first get NY over with..” Santa put his belt on loosely, then burped loudly.
The reindeer rebelled a bit about the harness. Doing this for centuries was getting way too tiring. Blitzen wanted to bite, saw Mrs. Claus and got docile. She stroked his head. Blitzen wondered what she was doing climbing into the sleigh for this long night.
When they all got to suburban Queens County, Santa’s stomach was rumbling loudly; he thought he was going to be sick. “I had all fatty and salty foods you tell me not to have,” he told his wife, “and at the restaurant you never want me to go to. Sorry.”
Snow swirled with anger. Mrs. Claus could not even see city lights twelve miles from the first house to have a visit. Santa looked at the chimney of a two-story colonial style; his list showed three girls.
“Good! No chimney cap to remove.” Mrs. Claus noted.
“Oh, but this is a false fireplace. I’ve a problem.”
“So where does the chimney go to?” Mrs. Claus tried to imagine a carved wood French Provincial style fireplace, with a mantel, and a concealed radio built into the side. Her husband told her about the fake logs, a tiny red electric light and a fan with cellophane that rotated and it pretended to be flickering fire. “So, how do you get there?”
“I’ve been doing this for so many centuries, I think I’m finally getting the senility disease. I don’t remember how I got into the fake fireplace. The real chimney dropped me off by the oil burner in the cellar. Oh, aging isn’t easy, dearie.” He lowered his head.
She comforted. “I’ll go.” She got up, took packages for three girls, and smoothed her skirts as she had on layers. “I’ll wiggle in and figure something out.” She started to lower herself and her outer skirt caught on a chipped brick. “Why can’t women wear men’s trousers!” The skirt tore. She got to the first floor level and noticed a real brick opening; something sturdy totally covered it. She knew, as a woman, that the fake fireplace pressed against the real one so no one could ever make a real fire that could burn down the house or harm the little girls. Clever, she thought, but didn’t have the strength to push it away so she could get between the wall and French Provincial. She wanted to yell. ‘Honey, I need your help’ but Santa wasn’t well enough yet to assist. “Psst.” She called and her voice moved through the cylinder, “Blitzen.”
Folding his legs in, he wiggled his behind into the chimney opening and slid down vertically. He pushed hard against the fake fireplace and Mrs. Claus had enough room to slip out, place the presents, turn on the electric red light, and get back.
‘How’re we going to move the fake one back into place.” Blitzen was concerned.
“Don’t have time tonight to figure that out. We’ve the whole world to get to. Guess they’ll think the blizzard of ‘48 was so fierce, it actually shook the house and moved the fireplace.” Mrs. Claus got a boost from Blitzen, and climbed up the chimney holding his antlers helping him out.