While I enjoy giving writing prompts to inspire other writers, I like being challenged myself. Last week, Kathy Temean had posted this writing challenge: On Christmas Eve day while baking five pies, cookies, meatballs and lasagna, I wondered what would happen if Santa got sick and Mrs. Claus had to take over? Would the reindeer’s behave? Would she find her way to everyone’s house? What would happen if she got mixed up and slipped down the chimney of a house that didn’t celebrate Christmas? And does she even know how to go up and down a chimney, like Santa? I could see poor Mrs. Claus running into a lot of problems. The kind writers like to throw at their main character. What qualities would Mrs. Claus bring to the job Santa has perfected?
I had not planned to respond to this challenge, but sometimes my mind works on its own. While in the midst of Holiday Cleaning, the story unfolded. I vacummed . . . typed . . . dusted . . . typed . . . washed dishes . . . typed . . . sorted paperwork . . . typed. By the time my house was close to presentable, I discovered that the words I’d paid no attention to while typing actually made some sort of sense.
Two additional writers responded to this prompt, and Kathy posted all of our stories on her blog. http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/christmas-challenge-stories/
Here is what I wrote while doing a slew of other activities, simply allowing my mind to play with the idea.
‘Twas the night before Christmas and Santa was ill.
He was sneezing and wheezing, refusing his pill.
The elves, in a panic, said, “what shall we do?’
One pointed at Mrs. Claus. “How about you?”
“Nonsense,” said Santa. “Her job is to bake.
Where’s my soup and my crackers? And how about cake!”
“Bake your own cake,” she said, “it’s 2010.
I can handle this job. It’s not only for men.
I can bake all the cookies, wrap all the gifts,
line up the reindeer, and manage the elves.
Multi-tasking is what, I, Mrs. Claus, can do best.
Now pass me my boots, help me slip on this vest.”
“But Mrs. Claus, Sweet-Pea, it’s my job, not yours.”
“Santa, stop griping, just open the door.”
After kissing his cheeks, Mrs. Claus led the way
to the stable of reindeer and one giant sleigh.
Taking her seat, she grabbed both red reins,
and then, with a twinkle, she called out their names.
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
Never mind with the rooftops, that’s not where we’ll land.
Sliding down chimneys isn’t part of my plan.”
So, up, up and away they soared through the sky
where Mrs. Claus learned she enjoyed to fly.
“I warned this would happen, the man should lay low,”
she mumbled to Rudolph and steered through the snow.
“Santa needs a long break, somewhere warm in the sun.
Together, just us. We deserve to have fun.
Children keep asking for more and more toys
when the world has enough for all girls and all boys.
Electronics and Kindles, it’s out of control.
If the elves can’t keep up, to the mall he might go.”
Then, through the clouds, the first house she did see.
“Now aim for the front yard, just past that large tree.”
With a poof the deer landed, unsure what to do.
They pawed with their hoofs, awaiting her cue.
“Children know Santa’s coming, I’m not going to hide.
Besides, it’s too cold out, let’s all go inside.”
With a rap, rap, rap, ding-dong, she woke everyone up.
And soon she was drinking hot tea from a cup.
In front of a fire, the reindeer got warm,
having lost their desire to fly in the storm.
“See these cookies you leave him, he’s getting too fat.
The man needs more fruit. And a large yoga mat.
At the North Pole, where we live, there are no gym clubs,
which is why my love, Santa, is as round as a tub.
On the subject of gifts, I will leave you just one,
for you and your family. Enjoy the fun!”
Then, after she posed for a picture or two,
she blew them a kiss and bid them adieu.
The kids begged to open the gift that she’d left,
but the parents said “no,” still needing their rest.
From Asia to Europe, to Australia, too,
Mrs. Claus even made a quick trip to the zoo.
The children were baffled, some even upset.
One gift to share was all they would get?
With a “Hodie! Hodie! Hodie!” she shouted from above,
“What you’ll find in each box is a perfect white dove.”
Early Christmas morning, when all were awake,
the boxes were opened; the doves all escaped.
“Where?” said one child, looking up at the sky.
“Where did they go, and can you tell me why?”
This, I tell you, for those who wish to know
what happened to the doves that flew off in the snow.
At the very right moment, when you expect it the least,
the doves will fly over bringing much needed peace.
Betsy Devany 12/28/2010
THANK YOU, KATHY! This was a lot of fun! Lets do it again, soon.