Santa’s Birthday Gift Part One

Mrs. Claus was walking toward her office door with a cup of hot chocolate in her hand. She put the key into the lock to her office, and walked into her office. Every elf could set their watches by Mrs. Claus. She always entered her office at 8:15 a.m. exactly. She sat down behind her desk and grabbed a piece of paper and a quill to start creating a new cookie recipe, when she looked up at the calendar on the corner of her desk. There was a date that was circled in red ink; it was Santa’s birthday. She wanted to do something special for him, and she knew she couldn’t go to the village to get it done, because Santa would find out somehow, as he always did. What to do? She sat back into her high-backed chair, put the quill that she was holding on to the desk and started to tap her bottom lip. She then turned her chair around to look at a map on the wall to see where the closest city was to the North Pole. A smile came across her face as she looked at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; they have a very large mall and Santa would never know she was gone; she would be back in a flash.

Mrs. Claus picked the telephone receiver up off her desk and called the weather office to find out what the weather was going to be like in western Canada. After three rings on the phone, someone answered it. Calvin, the meteorologist on shift, was checking the radar when the phone started to ring; Calvin picked up the phone and said, “Hello, North Pole Weather Office, how can I help you?” There was a pause on the phone, and then Calvin said, “Why hello, Mrs. Claus, how can I help you today?” Mrs. Claus asked, “How is the weather for western Canada?” Calvin asked Mrs. Claus whereabouts in western Canada she was looking at. Mrs. Claus did not want to say Edmonton, because then Calvin would file the request in his log and Santa would find out. Mrs. Claus said, “Alberta, Calvin.”

Calvin typed the request into his computer, and a few seconds later, the report was printed. Calvin read the report over the phone to Mrs. Claus. Calvin then asked, “Would you like me to email the report to you?” Mrs. Claus said, “Yes, Calvin, and thank you.” In a matter of moments, the email was received.

Mrs. Claus then called the reindeer barn to have her sled made ready for a flight, and she wanted Penny and Taz the reindeers to take her on a training flight, and she would be leaving within the hour. Mrs. Claus headed back to the castle to go and get her flying clothes on, as it would be cold 200 feet high. This would be a first for all three of them flying that high; that was the max altitude that the reindeer could fly and that was one of Santa’s most important rules that could never be broken.

Mrs. Claus was all ready to go for her flight; she was dressed nice and warm because it would be cold in October, and she also knew that there was still a chance of one or two winter storms in the area. She was off to the garage, which was located at the back of the castle, to get the Snow Cat.

Mrs. Claus loved to drive the Snow Cat because it was nice and big, and it had a heater inside of it. The big machine started up nice and easy, and off Mrs. Claus went. It did not take her long to get to the reindeer barn, and the elves had Penny and Taz all ready for flight. Mrs. Claus walked over, reached into her purse and gave each one of them a carrot. Kelly the elf came up to Mrs. Claus to ask her, “How long of a flight is this going to be, Mrs. Claus?”

Mrs. Claus then said, “We are going for a test flight with my two reindeer; we will be gone for a couple of hours, and I will be flying near and around Arctic Bay. I might do some shopping.” Kelly wrote all the information down because he had to keep track of all of the hours of all of Santa’s reindeer. Kelly then said, “Thank you, Mrs. Claus, and have a great flight.” Mrs. Claus then climbed into her sled and made herself comfortable. As she was about to grab the reins, she noticed something new in herself sled. She then looked over at Kelly and asked, “What is that?” pointing down towards the black box. Kelly replied to Mrs. Claus, “It is a two-way radio. Santa had it put in for your safety.” Mrs. Claus thanked Kelly. As she grabbed the reins to Penny and Taz, both reindeer looked back at Mrs. Claus when she realized she would need some help with this flight. She waved at Kelly and asked him, “Do you have a spare elf that can come and help me?”  Kelly looked into the barn and called over Wally. Mrs. Claus looked at her wristwatch that Santa had given to her one Christmas; it was 10:45 a.m.

Wally walked over to see what Kelly wanted. Kelly told him that Mrs. Claus needed his help; Wally knew Penny and Taz the best. Wally jumped from where he was standing and into the sleigh. Kelly and Mrs. Claus looked at Wally. Kelly then said, “Wally, you may want to go and get some warmer clothes on, it’s going to be a long, cold test flight.” In a heartbeat, Wally was back and dressed nice and warm. Mrs. Claus grabbed the reins and said to Penny and Taz, as both reindeer looked back at her, “On Penny, on Taz, up, up and away!” She snapped the reins, and the four were off like the wind and headed away from Christmas Town, so Santa would not see Mrs. Claus leaving. As the sleigh was flying out of sight, Penny and Taz were having fun pulling Mrs. Claus’ sleigh; to them, it was good practice for when they could fly with Santa.

Wally looked at Mrs. Claus, then asked, “Where are we going, Mrs. C?” Mrs. Claus looked over at Wally and said, “We are going to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to get Santa a birthday present.” Wally looked up at Mrs. Claus with a funny look on his face. Mrs. Claus said to Wally, “If I have Santa’s gift made at the North Pole, he will know what I’m getting him, so this year, I’m going to go to the city and pick something out for that reason. I asked for you to come and help me because I need someone that knows Penny and Taz really well. I also need you to stay with them so I have a way to get home.”

This put a smile on Wally’s face, as he had never left the North Pole. Mrs. Claus handed the reins over to Wally. She then reached into her purse and pulled out her cell phone. She was going to call an old friend and see if she would like to help her get a birthday gift for Santa, and then they could go for a tall glass of milk.

Aunty Joe was cleaning her house when she heard the phone ringing. She put her dust cloth into her back pocket, and then headed for the phone that was next to the couch. Aunty Joe picked up the receiver and said, “Hello?” There was a whistling sound coming from the phone and Aunty Joe knew it was someone from the North Pole calling her. Aunty Joe again said “Hello?” Then there was a woman’s voice on the other end saying, “Hello, Aunty Joe, Mrs. Claus here. I’m on my way into the city to get Santa a birthday gift, we will be arriving at 6:00 p.m. at the landing field; is there a place we can hide my friends?”  Aunty Joe replied, “Yes, just look for smoke near the landing field. You will need to land in my alley, and then we can put your special friends in my garage until it’s time to leave. How many friends do you have, Mrs. C?” Mrs. Claus responded, “We have two pullers and one guest.” We should be at your location in about one hour.” Aunty Joe looked out her window to see the sun was still out and it would not be setting until 6:30 p.m.

The sun was starting to set in the west as the sleigh flew over Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. Mrs. Claus handed the reins back to Wally before she grabbed her cell phone and called Aunty Joe to let her know where she was. Aunty Joe told Mrs. Claus that she would need to slow the sleigh down a bit so they could arrive after dark. That was one of Santa’s rules when they had to go to the city.

Then all of a sudden, the radio in the sled sounded and it was a male voice on the other end. It was Santa looking for Mrs. Claus. It took him all day to find out that she was out flying around the north on a test flight and she was now in Canadian air space. Santa said, “North Pole to little sled, come back.” There was a long pause as Mrs. Claus and Wally tried to answer Santa.

The radio was not working properly for some reason. Mrs. Claus’ cell phone rang and it had a picture of Santa on the screen. Mrs. Claus answered the phone, “Oh hi, dear, how are you doing and why are you calling me?” There was a pause, then Santa replied, “My dear, why are you off your planned flight course?” There was a very long pause on the phone, and then Santa said, “Hello, are you there, my dear?” The phone went dead, no signal — or did Mrs. Claus shut her phone off? The sleigh was not far from the landing site now.

The pair was now in the city and approaching the landing site when Mrs. Claus’ phone was ringing again; this time it was Aunty Joe. Mrs. Claus answered the phone and Aunty Joe asked, “Whereabouts are you?” Mrs. Claus replied, “We are just about to pass over the landing site now.”

Aunty Joe was at the landing site with her flashlight on, waving it back and forth; in the sky, a set of lights blinked on and then off a few times as the sleigh with the team of two reindeer approached the landing strip. The lights then stayed on and the sleigh made a perfect landing. Once the sleigh had stopped, Mrs. Claus shut the lights off. Wally looked to the west at the sun that was starting to set.

Wally jumped out of the sleigh and headed for Penny and Taz to see how they were doing; for young reindeer, they had done great, Wally thought. It was time to drive the sleigh on the ground to Aunty Joe’s garage, where Aunty Joe had a surprise for the flight crew. As the young reindeer pulled the sleigh through the deep snow onto the street, it was not far to their hiding spot in the garage. Aunty Joe and Mrs. Claus walked in front of the sleigh as Wally was holding onto Penny’s harness. Aunty Joe asked Mrs. Claus, “Where are the bells for your reindeer?” Mrs. Claus bent down a bit and whispered into Aunty Joe’s ear, “They are not ready for jingle bells that are only for Santa’s team.” Aunty Joe then said, “Oh ok.” As the group headed up the alley that leads into Aunty Joe’s garage, Aunty Joe went through the back gate that was attached to the garage. After she closed the gate, it did not take long for the big door to open; there were some fresh bales of hay on the floor, along with a cot for Wally to sleep on next to Penny and Taz. The two tired reindeer walked into the garage and Wally and the girls unhooked the sleigh and pushed it into the garage next to the hay. It did not take long for Penny and Taz to go to sleep in the nice fresh hay. Wally was very tired as well; he crawled into the cot and fell fast sleep. Aunty Joe shut the lights off. Mrs. Claus left as Aunty Joe closed the garage side door. Mrs. Claus and Aunty Joe went into the house. As they walked through the back door, Aunty Joe had a message for Mrs. Claus from Santa.

Back in the North Pole, Santa was pacing in his office; he wanted to know why Mrs. Claus did not file a proper flight plan and he was worried that there was still a chance she could get caught in a fall storm on her way back to the North Pole. There was a knock on Santa’s office door. Santa said, “Come on in” in a semi-happy voice. The door slowly opened and Kelly the flight operation manager came into Santa’s office. Santa was sitting behind his desk; he looked over his glasses as Kelly entered.

Santa said, “Have a seat, Kelly. I have some questions about this morning and Mrs. Claus’ flight plan.” Kelly was standing in front of Santa’s desk. Santa then said again, “Have a seat, Kelly. There are a few things that we need to talk about.” Kelly sat down in the chair that was right behind him and opened the log book for the day, then started to discuss the two reindeer that Mrs. Claus had taken, Penny and Taz. As Kelly was explaining how much flight time both of the young reindeer had, Santa was sitting back in his chair, listening to the details that were being presented to him. Santa then asked, “Okay, Kelly, can you explain to me why Mrs. Claus’ radio is not working?” Kelly replied, “That radio was tested before it left the barn, I do not know why it is not working now.” Santa said, “Okay, when that radio gets back, I want it tested and retested to make sure it works perfectly. I know you and the boys and girls will do a bang-up job.”

Aunty Joe and Mrs. Claus were just leaving the mall; Mrs. Claus had a lot of lovely gifts for Santa and it was almost time to head back to the North Pole. Mrs. Claus knew that leaving at this hour would be dangerous, but she looked up into the sky and it was clear. Aunty Joe said, “It’s okay for you and Wally to stay the night and leave really early in the morning before the city wakes up. Mrs. Claus thought about it for a moment and then declined Aunty Joe’s invitation, because she thought she was inconveniencing Aunty Joe’s daily routine. Mrs. Claus was in a hurry to get back to the North Pole because Santa would be worried about her.

Both girls jumped into Aunty Joe’s car; it would not be long before they were back at the house. Wally was busy checking on the young reindeer to see how they were doing in the fresh hay. Wally got each of them a pail of water to drink. As he was filling up the pails of water, he heard an engine being turned off and Mrs. Claus laughing at one of Aunty Joe’s jokes. Wally greeted the ladies and helped Mrs. Claus with her packages, loading them into the back of the sleigh. Wally then asked Mrs. Claus, “Mrs. C, I was wondering if we could get the radio fixed before we leave?” Mrs. Claus looked at Wally, then back at Aunty Joe. Mrs. Claus asked Aunty Joe if she knew of anyone that could fix their two-way radio. Both ladies went back into the house to look up someone that could fix a radio and do house calls on a Friday night; if they couldn’t find someone, Mrs. Claus would have to go on her flight before daybreak.

Back at the North Pole in Santa’s office, Santa called the weather office. As the phone was ringing, Calvin was just updating the weather for the next 24 hours. Calvin picked up the phone on the third ring and said, “North Pole Weather Office, Calvin here.” There was a strong male’s voice on the other end of the receiver. Calvin realized it was Santa on the other end. “Hi, Calvin, I would like to get all the weather reports for Alberta, Canada every hour on the hour until Mrs. Claus is home.”

Calvin said, “Yes, sir, every hour on the hour, sir!” Santa said, “Thank you,

Calvin. “Back at Aunty Joe’s house, the girls were calling everyone they could find to come out and fix the radio. They found someone and he was happy to come out and fix the radio. Sparks of Voice Relay Radio Repair would be over in an hour. It did not take Sparks long to get to Aunty Joe’s home, and Sparks brought a few radios just in case that one needed to be swapped out. The ladies met Sparks, who said, “Hello, ladies, I hear you have a bad radio?” Aunty Joe said, “Yes, we do, and we need it fixed before tonight because my friend has to leave in a few hours, she has to get back home.” Sparks said, “Okay, ladies, can you show me where the radio is?” The three headed out the back door toward the garage. Aunty Joe opened the side door for Sparks. When he saw the sleigh, he thought someone was playing a joke on him. He did not see Penny and Taz on the other side of the sleigh, sleeping in the hay. Sparks looked back at Mrs. Claus and Aunty Joe, and then he looked at the sleigh one more time. He noticed the antenna on the back of the sleigh. Sparks put his right hand on his forehead and slowly walked toward the white sleigh to see a two-way radio mounted on the dash. Suddenly, Wally jumped up and scared Sparks. Sparks said, “Hold on here, why is a radio in the sleigh? And who are you people?” Sparks looked down to see a licence plate that said ‘Santa Sleigh 2.’ Sparks looked up and asked, “Who is the owner of this sleigh?” Wally said, “It’s my sleigh, sir. I was taking it out for a test flight for her new owner, Mrs. Claus, and I was blown off course and I called my friends and they came out to help me.” Sparks did not for one second believe this story, and he kept looking at the ladies and wondering. Sparks just said, “I better get your radio working.” As he climbed into the sleigh, both Taz and Penny stood up to see what was going on.  Sparks looked up to see Taz face-to-face.  He jumped out of the sleigh as good as Santa does when he is working on Christmas Eve, and both of the girls started to laugh slightly.

Sparks climbed back into the sleigh to see what was wrong with the radio; he was checking the cables to the radio when he found a loose power line from the battery. It only took a minute to fix. At that moment, a red light turned on in the sleigh, as well at the tracking centre back at the North Pole for Santa’s flight around the world. Kelly had had the same system put into Mrs. Claus’ sleigh. Sparks looked to see power was going into the radio, and then he grabbed the microphone and pressed it in, then said, “Testing 1, 2, 3, testing.” Sparks didn’t expect anyone to answer his call. A voice came back and said, “North Pole Tower, go ahead, Mrs. Claus, over.” Sparks dropped the microphone and it hit the padded seat; Sparks just stared at it. Mrs. Claus then said, “How much do I owe you, sir?”  Sparks said, “You don’t owe me anything, Mrs. Claus.” Mrs. Claus thanked Sparks for all of his help in getting her sleigh ready for the journey home. Mrs. Claus waved at Wally to get the reindeer hooked up; it was dark enough now for us to leave.

It did not take Wally long to hook up Taz and Penny to their harnesses. Wally had them hooked to the sleigh and the reindeer pulled the sleigh out of the garage. Wally lined them up in the alley as Mrs. Claus shook Sparks’ hand and gave Aunty Joe a hug and said goodbye. Penny and Taz were ready for flight. Mrs. Claus walked over and reached into her purse and gave each of them an apple slice. She then climbed into the white sleigh. Mrs. Claus grabbed the reins and said to Penny and Taz, as both reindeer looked back at her, “On Penny, on Taz, up, up and away,” and she snapped the reins and the four were off like the wind. Aunty Joe and Sparks watched the white sleigh fly out of sight into the clouds over the city. Aunty Joe looked up at Sparks and said, “How would you like a cup of milk and a chocolate chip cookie? I hear they are Santa’s favourite cookies to eat.”

Back at the North Pole, the red dot that was on the world map was slowly moving toward the North Pole. It was heading toward Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Jennifer was at her desk and she picked up her phone and called Santa’s office to let him know that Mrs. Claus was on her way back home. Santa put the telephone receiver down and decided to head over to the tracking centre so he could talk to Mrs. Claus on the radio and also keep an eye on her flight path.

A few minutes later, Santa entered the tracking centre; there were 15 elves working 8-hour shifts around the clock, making sure no one finds the North Pole and Santa’s workshop. Santa walked over to the counter and grabbed a paper cup, went to the refrigerator, opened the door, grabbed the milk jug and poured himself some. He also looked down at the counter to find some chocolate chip cookies, so he took one and turned to look at the big screen on the wall that was showing Mrs. Claus’ sleigh slowly making its way back home. The red dot on the world map was making its way to the North Pole. The winds had started to pick up, which made Mrs. Claus’ sled bounce up and down in the wind. Penny and Taz were having just a little bit of trouble navigating through the wind and snow flying around.

The door to the tracking centre opened and Calvin, the head meteorologist, came running in with a piece of paper in his hand, waving it over his head. He stopped and looked for Santa, who was standing near the milk jug, taking a sip of his milk. Calvin ran over to Santa to give him the latest weather report, and it did not look good for western Canada and the Northwest Territories. Calvin was out of breath because his office was on the other side of Christmas Town. Calvin said, “Santa! Santa!” Then the speaker came to life in the tracking centre room. It was Mrs. Claus’ voice. “MAYDAY…MAYDAY.” Then there was a pause. “We are going down. I repeat, mayday!” Mrs. Claus was still holding the button in on the microphone very tight, because Wally was heard saying over the microphone, “Mrs. C, we’re going down!” Then there was a pause for a second, a woman’s scream was heard, and the words that came through the speaker was “SAN—” Then the only sound coming from the speakers in the control centre was a crackling sound for a few seconds, then they fell silent.

From Santa’s White Christmas
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