Santa Is Missing. (A Story)

Santa is Missing is a children’s book. It is short, and easy to read. I am presenting it to you as my gift. The story is very adult like in composition since the view-point changes every chapter. Children twelve and older will have no trouble reading it by themselves. Kids younger than twelve may  need it be read to them.

There are a few characters I should identify:

1. Morty Angel is  Guardian Angel assigned to Ben

2. Ben is a boy of ten who is watched over by Morty Angel

3. Jasper is a Lead Elf who works for Santa

4. Gabriel is the Archangel working in Heaven as God’s assistant

5. Sentra-vision, a special belt worn by Morty. It is a communication device used to call heaven.

6. Sky-scooter, a special flying scooter given to Morty by friends. Since he cannot fly like other angels he needs the Sky-scooter to travel. It has amazing properties.

7. Polly is a polar bear, a friend of Morty’s

8. Major Joe ‘Do-Do’ Taylor is an Air Force pilot at Elmendorf Air Base.

There are ten chapters and I will present one chapter every day or two until the story is complete. There are cartoon pictures scattered throughout the story. The cartoons are originals done by Grumpa Joe.

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Santa is Missing

by

Grumpa Joe

Chapter One-God Calls

Morty sat invisible on Ben’s shoulder. He watched the snow falling gently. Ben listened to Miss Brown. The temperature dropped since they got to school this morning. Ben looked out the window and wished he could be playing in it.  Miss Brown went over math sets. There were two more days before school let out for the Christmas holiday.

Morty’s head bobbed with sleep when his wings fluttered. He jumped to attention as his wings fluttered again. “God is paging me,” he said to himself. Morty raised the end of his Sentra-vision belt to his eye. He saw Gabriel sitting at the desk outside God’s office. He squeezed the belt to signal that he was ready to receive. Gabriel pushed a button on his console and God appeared. Morty watched and listened carefully.

“Santa is in trouble. I want you to help him. It is only a few days until my Son’s birthday celebration. I don’t want Christmas to be spoiled because Santa can’t make it on time. Leave immediately.”

The bell rang just as God finished the message. School was over for the day.

Ben rushed to get his boots and coat.  He ran out of school with his Guardian Angel hanging onto his sleeve.

“I want to be first in the new snow, he whispered to Morty.”

Ben jumped into the deep new snow, and fell backwards. He swept his arms above his head and spread his legs apart.

“Look, Morty, I’m making an angel.”

That’s when Morty became visible and told  Ben to get ready. “We have to go rescue Santa.”

“What?”

“We have to go rescue Santa, God just told me to go help him. Come on, get onto the sky scooter.”

“But, but, but . . . my parents will wonder where I am.”

“Don’t worry. God will send an angel to let them know that you are okay. Now, let’s go, Santa needs us.”

Ben climbed on and wrapped his arms around his guardian angel. Morty set the navigator for the North Pole, then pushed the thrust button. They were out of sight in an instant.

To be continued…

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MORTY ANGEL AND BEN HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO LOOK FOR SANTA WHO WAS REPORTED MISSING.

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Chapter Two-Where is He?

Santa is never late said Mrs. Claus to herself. She paced back and forth wondering where he was.

“He has never been late before,”  she explained to Gabriel over the Angel Network.  “He left at 8:00 p.m. last night for a training ride with Rudolph and the  first team. On a regular day, he is back by midnight. It is  3:00 a.m. and he is still gone. I sent the elves to look for him.”

“Santa keeps a strict training schedule. They have to be in perfect shape to be able to deliver all the gifts. They fly fast, stop on a roof, then start-up fast again. They pull all the presents, and Santa is not a light weight. I keep him on a diet, but poor Santa never loses a pound,” said Mrs. Claus.

The elves were still very busy making toys and wrapping presents. They used Santa’s computer to know how many toys to make. Before Christmas, Santa visits children all around the world to ask them if they were bad or good. If they answer “good,” he asks them what they want for Christmas. Each kid gives him a list of toys. Of course, Santa already knows if they were bad or good because he has Sentra-vision like the angels. He keeps a record of all the good deeds and all the bad things that a kid does on his computer.

Elf-Jasper was charting Santa’s route and connecting each gift to a child’s house. He was ready to download the chart into the tracking system on the sleigh when Mrs. Claus asked him to look for Santa.

Jasper ordered his elves to hitch the back-up team to the red sleigh. They left to search all of Santa’s training routes, but it was snowing so hard and they could not see anything.

To be continued…

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Ben and Morty Angel are rushing to the North Pole to Find Santa aboard Sky-scooter.

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Chapter Three-Rescue Plan

Ben and Morty hung onto the scooter as it sped to Santa Claus Village near the North Pole. Morty used his Sentra-vision belt to get information about the mission. He learned that Santa was missing on a training mission, and the elves could not find him in the snowstorm. Morty wondered how he was going to find Santa.

Ben must have read his mind.

“Morty, why don’t you send a message to all of the animals in the world to look for Santa.”

“Great idea,” Morty shouted over his shoulder. They were traveling so fast the noise from the wind and snow made it hard to hear.

The Scooter, automatically began to slow down and lose altitude. The voyage to Santa’s Village was nearly over. Morty called Jasper to ask for help.

“Jasper, please contact Gabriel. Tell him to spread the word to the animal kingdom. Have them report all suspicious activity.

“Make a special call to the wolves to search for the reindeer with their noses. They have a keen sense of smell and can tell when an animal is hurt. If the reindeer are injured, the wolves will find them,” said Ben.

“Fantastic idea,” said Morty. “Did you copy that Jasper?”

“Ten four,” answered Jasper, “I did.”

Jasper locked Sky-scooter onto the landing beam. Then, he relayed the message to Gabriel.

To be continued…

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Morty and Ben begin the plan to find Santa as they fly to the North Pole.

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Chapter Four-Roll Call

High on a Mount Denali glacier, deep in a dark crevasse, Santa crawled out from under the green sleigh. He checked himself for broken bones and brushed snow off his suit. He started a roll call.

“Rudolph.”

“Here.”

“Donner”

“Here,” answered Donner weakly.

“Blitzen.”

“I’m here,” he said, “My antlers are tangled in the runner.”

“Dasher.”

“Here, but my leg is broken.”

“Prancer.”

“I’m here, scrapped and bleeding.”

“Comet,— Comet, does anyone see Comet?” asked Santa.

“I can feel him,” said Cupid, “He’s out cold.”

“How about Dancer and Vixen?”

“We are okay,” they answered in unison.

“Donner, please help Comet.”

“Dancer, Vixen, see if you can help Prancer.”

“Rudolph, turn your nose on.”

“Oh great, my light doesn’t work, now what do we do?”

“Try harder,” said Santa, “we need that light.”

“How will we find our way home without your light?”

“Why did we crash?” Asked Cupid.

“Something exploded right next to us,” answered Rudolph, “the shock forced me into a downward spin, then my light went out. We broke through the clouds, and saw the mountain, but it was too late. We landed fast, and slid into this crevasse.”

“Comet is waking up,” said Prancer.

“Where am I?”

“We crashed into a crevasse,” answered Prancer.

“Let’s put our heads together and see how we are going to get home,” said Santa.

“Does the  Sentra-vision work?” asked Rudolph. “We can call Jasper. He can  find where our signal is coming from.”

“I checked it before, it doesn’t work either,” said Santa, “See if you can repair it.”

“Blitzen, splint Dasher’s leg. Dancer and Cupid, explore the crevasse in that direction. see if we can climb out of here.”

“Donner and Vixen, explore the opposite direction. I’ll help Rudolph with the Sentra-vision.”

To be continued…

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SANTA CRASHED INTO A GLACIER ON MOUNT DENALI AND IS LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GET OUT.

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Chapter Five-Under Attack

Sergeant John Jacobs watched the radar at Fort Greeley missile base. Sargeant John served at on the far edge of Alaska. Everything appeared normal until eleven o’clock. At eleven the screen started flashing, and the horn sounded. John nearly jumped out of his seat. A strange blip headed toward North America at very high speed. He knew what all the other blips on the screen were, but this one behaved different.

Could it be a missile coming in? He checked the equipment. Everything was normal. The blip kept coming. John picked up the red phone and dialed Elmendorf Air Force Base.

“Major, we have a red alert coming at us from the west. All the equipment checks out; it is the real thing.”

“I’ll be there in a flash.” Major General Holmes was at home decorating his Christmas tree when the Sergeant called.

“I’m sorry kids, it’s an emergency I have to go.”

Minutes later, Major Holmes saw the blip on the radar screen himself. The object was near the coast line now.

“Scramble the tactical unit,” he ordered.

“Yes sir.”

Elmendorf confirmed the unidentified object approaching U.S. airspace. It was too fast to be an airplane.  It had to be a missile. Three F16 jets sped toward the blip.

“It looks like we’ll intercept it over Denali,” Radioed Major ‘Do-Do’ Taylor.

On this evening Santa took the team to Siberia. He was returning to the North Pole from the extended training flight. The reindeer were at peak condition. Rudolph and the team were feeling good. Santa knew they were ready for Christmas Eve. They would deliver presents to good kids all around the world.

The team was excited. It felt good to fly fast. They loved speed. Santa was anxious to get home early. He and Mrs. Claus still had gifts to wrap for the elves. Mrs. Claus knitted new caps and socks for them.

The F-16‘s approached Denali, the highest peak in North America. A heavy cover of clouds hid the mountain, and the pilots flew by radar. Major Do-Do spotted the object on his radar.  It flew under the clouds. Most of the time the jets flew above the clouds where the the pilots could see the stars and the moon. This flight was different.

Major Do-Do used pilot nicknames to talk to his wingmen.

“Crackers, do you have anything on your radar?”

“Yes I see something that is flying a crazy pattern.”

“I see it too,” said Dogface.

“The orders are to make contact with the object and determine if it is a missile, turn on your after burners,” ordered Do Do, “Let’s catch it.”

All three jets sped up to sixteen hundred miles per hour and broke the sound barrier with a loud bang.

“Did you hear that?” shouted Santa.

“Yes,” they sang in unison, “What was it?”

“I don’t know,” answered Santa “Maybe it is the ice cracking on the glacier below.” Just then, Santa let the reindeer have some fun. He flipped the reins gently, signaling them to go faster. The sleigh jumped forward. The team loved going fast, the faster the better. Even at this high speed they were barely breathing hard. They could go even faster if Santa asked them to.

“Get ready to practice a high speed landing,” said Santa.

“Okay,” responded Rudolph, “Let’s have some fun.” Neither Santa nor the reindeer had any idea that they were being chased by the jets.

Just as Santa gave Rudolph the signal to speed up, Major Do Do received orders to shoot. He fired a missile without knowing that he was shooting at Santa. The rocket was just a few yards behind the sleigh when the team kicked into high gear, and shot forward. They flew faster than the missile. Santa signaled the landing maneuver. Rudolph turned them into a sharp upward loop. The team was at the top of their loop, flying upside down, when the rocket exploded. It blew up just as they curved downward. The explosion caused Rudolph’s nose-light to go out, and knocked them off course.

“Oh oh, this is going to be ugly,” said Rudolph. The confusion caused the team to drop hard and fast.

Do Do, Crackers, and Dogface saw the object disappear from their radar.

“Mission completed,” radioed Do Do, “let’s head for home.”

Rudolph pulled the team out of the loop onto the glacier at top speed. The reindeer skidded and plowed a trench in the snow. Rudolph went down. The team tumbled, rolled, and slid behind him. Dasher clipped a large chunk of ice and shattered his leg. Comet banged his head and went unconscious. After sliding and plowing snow for what seemed like an eternity they disappeared into a deep crevasse.

To be continued…

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The Air Force spotted Santa, but thought he was a missile. They fired at the team, but they out ran the missile. The maneuver caused them to crash-land on Denali, and to disappear from all radar.

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Chapter 6- THE SEARCH

At the North Pole, Morty and Ben set up a communication center. Ben opened a map of the world and pinned it to a wall. He marked the location of every report that came in from the animal kingdom with a push-pin. The messages began coming in immediately.

Most reports were “nothing sighted, scented, or heard in our sector.”  If a spot on the map looked empty, Morty called the animals in that sector and asked for a report. Soon the map was filled with red push pins. There was one bare spot on the map.  It was in Alaska. It was snowing very hard all over the state and the snow kept the animals from moving around.

Morty called Gabriel, “Send a fleet of Guardian Angels to Alaska, and have them look for Santa.”

Gabriel paged all available angels and sent them to look. Each angel was assigned a sector, and was asked to report unusual activity.

The grizzly bears were hibernating, so they were out, and the wolves, elk, sheep, and goats were all down at lower levels for the winter. The highest points of the mountain were assigned to the bald eagles, but they had to wait for the morning light and for the snow to stop.

Mrs. Claus began to cry. Ben took her to the kitchen to make some tea. There, in the kitchen, he spoke softly and assured her that if anyone could find Santa, Morty could.

Morty studied the map with Jasper. There were red pins everywhere. Where could Santa be?

“Do you see what I see?” asked Morty.

“Yes, there is a big blank spot over Denali.”

“I bet that is where they are,” said Morty, “If he is high on the mountain in the storm, it would explain why we have not heard from anyone there. It also means that we’ll have to use some special tools to find him. I’ll ask my friend Polly to help.”

He called Gabriel over the Sentra-vision.

“Find Polly Polar Bear, and let me know where she is. I think she can help us on Denali.”

“I will get back to you as soon as I find her,” said Gabriel.

Just as he promised, Gabriel called back with Polly’s location, “she is on an ice floe near the North Pole.” He down-loaded her location into Sky Scooter.

“Let’s get going,” said Morty.  Together, they boarded the scooter. Morty hit auto pilot and they were off to find Polly. It was still snowing hard when they left.

Polar bears love the cold, and Polly was on an ice floe hunting for seals. Morty landed on the ice right next to her.

“Hello Polly, meet Ben.”

“I haven’t seen you since last year, what brings you here on a night like this?” asked Polly.

“Santa is missing and I need your help to find him. We think he is lost on Denali,” said Morty.

“I know, I called in my report earlier,” answered Polly.

The three of them squeezed on the scooter, and took off.

On the way, Morty called Gabriel.

“Tell Jasper to get the elves and the Red team ready to meet us.”

“Roger,” answered Gabriel. “While you were fetching Polly I got a report from Guardian Angel Frederick. He was with his pilot who got an order to fire a rocket over Denali.”

“Oh Lord,” said Morty, “I hope it wasn’t directed at Santa.”

To be continued…

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Morty and Ben have picked up their friend Polly Polar Bear to help with the search for Santa.

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Chapter 7-The Smell of Fire

Morty landed on the top of Denali. Polly jumped off and put her nose into the air.

“Nothing human or animal, but I do smell something, it smells like fire,” said Polly.

“That could be the missile. Can you tell where it is coming from?”

“I can’t tell for sure.”

“Polly, you scout this side of the mountain, Ben and I will fly to the other side. I’ll check with you later.

“Ben, you drive the scooter, and I’ll look for Santa.

“Don’t be afraid,” said Morty, “you will do very well, I trust you very much.”

With that said, Ben and Morty left to start their search.

Polly followed her nose down the mountain. The smell of the fire was still there. She ambled down to the glacier. “This is going to be fun,” she thought, “I’ll just slide on my belly while I search.”

Polly zigzagged going down. The smell of the fire got stronger.  She changed direction and the smell grew weaker. After the third pass, she was certain the smell was stronger on the West side.

“I’ll stay on the side where the smell is strongest, and cut my slide time in half,” she said to herself.

The big polar bear continued sliding, but now she only went half the distance. On her fifth pass the scent was very strong, and she saw disruptions in the snow.

Those look like tracks that have been snowed over.  I’ll stop here and wait for Morty to check in.

Ben and Morty flew back and forth down the opposite side of Denali, and saw nothing unusual.

“It’s time to check on Polly.” Ben pointed the scooter to the top of the mountain and over to the other side where Polly was waiting for them.

Morty called Gabriel.

“Frederick reported that after the missile exploded the object disappeared,” said Gabriel

To be continued…

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C8-RED SNOW

Posted on 08/12/2010 by Grumpa Joe | Edit

Morty, Ben, and Polly split up to search for Santa on both sides of the mountain. Polly finds something suspicious.

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The big snow storm covered over the crevasse, making it impossible for Santa and the reindeer to see. Donner and Dancer returned from their exploration. There was no way out, except up. Rudolph worked on the Sentra-vision unit with Santa. They could not make it work. Rudolph stomped his hoof against the dashboard in frustration and to his surprise his nose lit up.

“Santa, watch this,” he said. He held his hoof against the dash and his nose glowed red. It didn’t light up as brightly as it did when he was leading the sleigh, but it was bright enough to give them some light in the crevasse.

Ben and Morty crossed over the peak of Denali and started down to look for Polly.

“Did you see that?” asked Ben.

“What?”

“The red snow down below.”

“No, I didn’t see it. Do you see Polly yet?”

“Yes, she is just up ahead.”

Ben landed the Sky-scooter next to Polly.

“I’m glad you finally came, I found something interesting in the snow, and a few seconds ago I thought I saw a red glow in the snow up ahead,” said Polly.

“I saw it too,” said Ben.

“Let’s check it out,” said Morty. “Turn on the signal beacon so Jasper will know where to send the rescue team. Ben, you hover over us while I ride on Polly’s back. We will move forward cautiously.”

“There it is again,” shouted Ben, “a red flash in the snow about fifty yards ahead of us.”

Polly walked slowly down the glacier with Morty perched on her back. She followed the tracks, then suddenly she stopped.

“I smell reindeer blood,” she said, “it’s fresh under the new snow.”

“Where are they? Asked Morty, Keep on walking.”

“I just saw the red light again,” said Ben from the air. The snow lit up with a red glow just a few feet ahead.”

“They could be covered by snow,” said Polly, “but I don’t see any bumps or mounds anywhere.”

“Let me try something,” said Ben, “if I pass over the top of the snow quickly, maybe I can stir it up, and uncover something.”

“Go ahead,” said Morty, “tap the thrust button, and then hold on tight.” Ben tapped the button, and the scooter shot down the mountain, creating a turbulence of air behind it. Snow flew everywhere. Polly and Morty felt like they were in a blizzard. The swirling snow covered them over. Ben turned at the bottom of the glacier, and flew back. Morty and Polly were brushing snow off of themselves

“There is a hole in the snow with a red light coming out of it,” said Ben.

Polly took a few steps forward. She stopped abruptly, and backed up. Suddenly, the snow covering the crevasse began to cave in revealing a deep canyon in front of them.

“A crevasse,” growled Polly. “They slid down the glacier into the crevasse. That explains why we couldn’t see them or smell them.”

The falling snow-bridge nearly buried Santa and the team.

“I hear voices, someone has found us,” said Santa, “Rudolph keep your nose flashing on and off.”

Rudolph was up to his antlers in snow and couldn’t move.

“I need some help to dig Rudolph out of the snow pile, come here quickly,” called Santa. Cupid started jumping as hard as he could and soon freed himself.  He sprang up and over to Rudolph and started moving snow with his antlers. Santa was on the other side digging with his hands.

Morty got on the scooter with Ben and looked down into the crevasse. He saw Santa and Cupid shoveling snow off of Rudolph.

“Don’t worry Santa we’ll clear the snow out of there in a second.”

Morty moved Ben out of the driver’s seat. “Hold on Ben.”

Morty took Sky-scooter high over the crevasse in a big arc. He nosed downward and tapped the thrust button. Sky-scooter swished down into the crevasse at supersonic speed. Just as he was about to hit Santa, Morty pulled up, and steered the scooter out of the crevasse. The scooter created a vacuum and the snow that fell came flying out after the scooter. It looked like a giant white tail on the end of Sky. The snow arched up and over Polly’s head and landed into a huge pile.

“Gabriel, we found Santa. Send Jasper with the rescue team. They are trapped at the bottom of a deep crevasse,” radioed Morty.

To be continued . . .

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C9-THE RESCUE

Posted on 09/12/2010 by Grumpa Joe | Edit

IN THE LAST CHAPTER, THE SEARCH TEAM SPOTTED A MYSTERIOUS RED GLOW IN THE SNOW. THEY  DISCOVERED SANTA ON THE BOTTOM OF A DEEP CREVASSE THAT WAS COVERED BY A SNOW BRIDGE.

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Mrs. Claus breathed a big sigh when the news came. The elves cheered. Jasper left immediately with the rescue team. He followed the signal sent by Sky-scooter. The Red Team landed on the edge of the crevasse. The elves jumped into action with rope ladders and lifting equipment.

“Take care of Dasher’s leg first, then Comet’s head,” said Santa.

Four elves found Dasher, put a sling around his body, and gently lifted him up to the sleigh. Albert Elf placed a compress against Comet’s head, and Mercy bandaged Prancer’s bloody shoulder. It was Prancer’s blood that Polly smelled.

The Red Team raced back to the infirmary at the North Pole with Dasher, Prancer, and Comet then returned. The elves lifted Santa and the reindeer out of the crevasse while they were gone. Only one more thing had to be rescued; Santa’s favorite supersonic sleigh.

The sleigh was wedged between the walls in the deep split. Neither Santa nor Morty could budge it. Ben came to the rescue again.

“I’ll tie a rope to the runner and you tie the other end to Sky-scooter,” he said.

“Great idea,” said Morty.

Ben shimmied down a rope into the crevasse.

“We will use the power of the scooter to pull the sleigh out.”

“I can pull too,” said Polly, “let me try first.”

Morty looped a rope around Polly’s neck. Ben tied the other end to the runner.

“Pull hard Polly,” said Morty, “pull really hard.” Polly pulled with all her might, and the sled moved a tiny bit.

“That’s it Polly,” yelled Morty,“it’s moving.”

Ben pushed on the sleigh from another direction, and loosened it some more.

“Pull again, Polly,” said Morty.

Polly strained and the sleigh started to move up the wall.

“I can’t hold it,” she said.

“Ben, is the rope tied to the runner?

“Yes, it is.”

Morty pushed the thrust button for power.

“Pull, Polly, pull.”

She pulled as hard as she could. On the other side of the crevasse Sky-scooter made a long loud roar, and the sleigh inched out of the hole onto the glacier.

“Thank you,” said Santa. “Now, please take me to the North Pole, it is Christmas Eve, and I have work to do.”

To be continued . . .

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C10-MORTY TAKES OVER

Posted on 10/12/2010 by Grumpa Joe | Edit

In the last episode, Ben and Morty  rescued Santa and the reindeer from the bottom of the crevasse.

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Morty rushed Santa back to the North Pole. Polly said she would find her way back alone, and Ben returned with the elves.

Mrs. Claus and the elves had a back up sleigh packed and ready to go, but there was still one problem. Santa didn’t have a replacement light for Rudolph’s nose.

“I’ll lead you Santa,” said Morty, “with Sky-scooter I can fly anywhere.”

“Would you do that for me Morty?”

“My orders from the Boss were to make sure his Son’s birthday was not spoiled. If you don’t get the presents to all the good kids, they will be disappointed on Jesus’ birthday.”

By this time, Ben arrived.

“Can I come too? He asked.

“You can ride with us until we get to your house.”

“We will go to your house first,” said Santa. ‘Morty will tuck you into bed while I climb down the chimney. After I eat the milk and cookies, we will be on our way again.”

That night Morty rode on Sky Scooter at the front of the reindeer team. Morty and Sky-scooter did such a good job, Santa didn’t even know Rudolph was not there. Santa took off from each roof shouting his wish

“Merry Christmas, ho, ho, ho.”

Morty helped Santa complete the delivery of Christmas presents to good children all around the world to celebrate Jesus birthday.

As Morty led Santa from house to house, Ben slept. He was cozy and warm in his bed dreaming of how he helped to rescue Santa from the glacier. He remembered having tea with Mrs. Claus and assuring her that Morty would find Santa.

On Christmas morning, Ben awoke and ran into the room where the Christmas tree stood. There were presents piled everywhere. Morty was there too. He sat on a pile of packages with Ben’s name on them. He yawned, and stretched his arms out wide. Ben dove into the presents and started tearing them open.

Morty thought to himself, I’m really tired. The trip with Santa was a great work out. I wonder how he does it every year?

THE END

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

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A New Union of Terrorists

Black_and_white_rabbit_orig

Boko Leporidae, Leader of the ICWIS

Boko Leporidae hopped into the assembly of terror cells in Grumpa Joe’s garden. Boko did not look like any of the Wabbits living in the garden, he was fluffier and more like the Easter Bunny. His shorter ears stood erect on his head, and his fur was white with splotches of black.  “We have to unite, or die, said Boko.”

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Hunched down low in the first row in front of Boko were Aga Bam-bi, and Ali Bug-Bunee. Aga munched on a clover flower while Ali nervously scanned the garden for signs of Grumpa Joe. Ali twisted and twitched his ears in all directions. His eyes open wide scanning the garden for movement while his nose was a constant twitch.  Both Aga, and Ali suffered a devastating winter living in dire conditions of deep snow and brutal cold. As leaders of terror cells their focus shifted to survival, and not in terrorizing the garden. Little did they know that in their quest for food that had stripped the young bark off the Viburnum and the Willow shrubs causing them great stress. Missing from the meeting were the squirrels. “They took a terrible beating from the hawks,” said Aga.

Behind Aga and Ali sat Slimy the Slug, a new member of the organization. Slimy sat nervously hoping the meeting would end quickly. He needed darkness to carry out his work, and this meeting cut into his feeding time. Unlike the Wabbits, Slugs can not work in sunshine. The sun quickly dehydrates their vital fluids and kills them.

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Aga Bam-bi and Ali Bug-Bunee at the union meeting

 

“Without a united front, we will all perish and Grumpa Joe will win. He will succeed in driving us out of his garden.”

“He hasn’t planted any Petunias yet this year,” said Ali.

“The tulips are all bloomed out so there is little left for us to raid,” spoke Aga.

“Fear not,” said Boko. “With a united effort, no matter what he plants we will take him down. Are we going to stand together, or will we go down?”

“We will stand together,” they answered in unison.

“Good. As soon as we know what his Monet Vision looks like we will strike terror into the old man’s life.

Grumpa Joe and Peggy spent the winter in the Valley of the Sun enjoying the warmth away from the deep snow that blanketed the garden. All winter Grumpa Joe envisioned the 2014 Monet Vision. “I’m going to call it Golden Glow,” he told Peggy. This year I will outsmart the Wabbits by planting flowers they can’t stand.”

“That’s a good idea,” said Peggy.

“There is only one problem?”

“What is that,” she asked?

“The flowers they hate are not available in the colors you like, you won’t have any pinks, or blues, or reds to enjoy. I can see it in my mind and it will be the most beautiful garden we have ever had.”

“What ever you say Dear.”

Grumpa Joe got a very late start on planting because of all the travel he and Peggy did. First, they had to return from the Valley and then they had to go half way back across the country to attend the graduation ceremony of  Grumpa Joe’s grand-daughter. Before they left, he spent most of his time pulling weeds and preparing the flower beds.

When GJ returned home and walked around his garden he spotted Aga Bug-Bunee chewing peacefully on clover flowers. Eat all of that you want he said to himself, but stay away from my annuals.

After the graduation, Grumpa went on a flower buying spree. He bought a variety of Marigolds in yellow, orange, and mixed. This will fix them he thought. Those fuzzy Wabbits will stay away. I think it is the smell that does it.

In his day dreaming he envisioned a garden of yellows and golds of many sizes shapes and textures. Right after he planted his first batch of marigolds, he went on a second flower safari and bought more marigolds but also daisies, zinnias, some low growing Lysimachia,  a full flat of tall skinny Celosia, and a spicy orange Asiatic Lily. He plunked a few pots of  yellow Lantana into the mix and hoped he wasn’t buying very expensive Wabbit food.

A week after he planted the marigolds he noticed a few plants doing poorly. He got on his knees to get close to the ground. The foliage on the plant was gone. All that remained were the stems. Hmmnn! Where have I seen that before? Oh Yes, in my very first garden on Keeler Avenue I planted a line of Marigolds and they looked the same as this one. It took me a lot of research to find the culprit of that mystery, and when I did, I didn’t want to believe it. The garden has many critters, he thought. For every plant I buy a specific bug or predator exists to take it out. Now a new battle begins, and I’m afraid it involves chemical warfare for this terrorist. I can have no mercy on this tribe. I must annihilate them in order for the garden to live on. The formula for this new weapon resides in my study, I must find it quickly.

slug_1627430c

Slimy the Slug

The Union of Wabbits and Slugs met in the garden late at night after all the house-lights were out. Boko Leporidae, asked for reports on activity in the yard. Aga spoke first. “The Old Man planted Marigolds, I hate them and won’t go near them.”

“Anyone else?”

Slimy spoke up, “I ate a very delicious Marigold this week, and I can’t wait to get back for some more.”

Boko asked,” What are we going to do? There are many rabbits who will not eat Marigolds, but only one slug that will.”

Slimy answered, “I’ll begin recruiting as many of my friends as possible. Once they know there are Marigolds, they will drop the Hostas and come slithering over.”

“Do you think you can get enough help to do the job?”

“Oh yes, but it will take a few weeks to get their attention.” We have so much to eat in this yard it doesn’t pay to move around too much. We’ll just have to multiply in droves to make it happen.”

“Keep up the good work,” said Boko. “Stay observant and explore the yard for species you love and take them down as soon as you can. This guy is an infidel and needs to be taught a lesson. The early chapters of our holy book demands that Infidels be terrorized. While you are doing that I will contact the NSA (Nature Spy Alliance) for more intelligence and search for new members.”

“Hey Chief, what will we call our new union,” asked Ali Bug-Bunee?

How about the Illinois Coalition of Wabbits, Insects, and  Slugs, or “ICWIS” pronounced Icy-Whiz?

“Yeah that sounds catchy.”

 

. . . .to be continued

 

 

Be Prepared

Fifteen year old Alex Halprin throws a tizzy fit about going to visit his uncle in Illinois. He and his mother quarrel often, and this time his mother gives in. His parents and young sister leave for the weekend to drive the hundred and forty miles to Warren, Illinois near Galena. Alex looks forward to a lazy weekend of video games. He settles into his room when a loud crashing noise and a sudden shock to the house causes it to collapse around him and catches fire.

Alex’s life changed dramatically because a volcano explodes in Yellowstone Park some thousand miles to the west and destroys his town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and everything in between. This scenario plays out in the book titled “Ashfall” by Mike Mullen. I mentioned it in my post “He Scared The Crap Out Of Me.” The whole scenario of what happens when a super volcano like the one lurking below Lake Yellowstone in Yellowstone Park explodes, fascinates me so I downloaded the book to my Kindle and couldn’t stop reading.

 

Yellowstone diagram

 

yellowstone-caldera-diagramvolcanic-ash--impacts-to-aviation-climate-maritime-operations-1v8tpnic

If ever there is a case for keeping the Second Amendment alive and well along with our private firearms this is the reason. When the country, literally the entire country, is under emergency management, we will need our guns and ammo to protect ourselves from our neighbors, looters, and the government.  Picture the moment when all power is out, two feet of ash covers the landscape and prevents all forms of transportation from happening, there is no communication of any kind, daylight turns into darkness for weeks, and survivors are looking for food, water, and shelter.  Mike Mullins paints a fairly bleak picture about how society will react. Small towns will fare better, as will enterprising self-sufficient farmers. Big city folks are in trouble. In the story, Alex and his friend Darla finally come upon a FEMA camp and think they are safe, wrong. The camp is nothing more than a guarded fenced area with meager rations, nonexistent sleeping quarters, primitive pit toilets inhabited by thousands of starving people.

Mullins convinced me that I should prepare for the worst and stock emergency provisions for my family. Oh yeah, I have to buy a gun and plenty of ammunition too.

Mind Numbing State

My story begins long after Obama begins to transform America, and his successor Hillary completes his father’s dream during her first term. She finalizes America into the totally mind numbing state of socialism predicted by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged. Moving forward Hillary initiates a new movement she believes is smarter and stronger than socialism, she calls it factionalism. It is her premise that all members of society fit into one of five factions of personality. They are: 1.  Abnegation for the selfless who renounce or reject all things. 2. Amity for the peaceful who believe all relationships are friendly. 3. Candor for those people who are honest and open in expression. 4. Dauntless for the brave, fearless, and determined.  5. Erudite for the intelligent who show great knowledge or learning.

Hillary’s term ends before she has completed the factional transformation, and her successor continues with the plan. The successor uncovers a bug in the philosophy of factionalism, i.e. what happens to people who don’t fit in any of the five factions, she labels them divergent. They can think outside the box and reject being pigeon-holed into any of the factions. A Divergent is dangerous to Factionalism. There is only one way to deal with a Divergent, and that is to kill him.

IMG_1244

The narrative above is my attempt to presage the real story of “Divergent” written by Veronica Roth as a children’s story. Divergent is the current movie rage that had me on the edge of my seat throughout. It also started my mind spinning into the possibilities of reaching that point in civilization where such a scenario becomes real. The setting is Chicago, and the scene of the abandoned buildings on either side of a dry Chicago River bed gave it real meaning. This story theme reminded me of Hunger Games and its spin on what the world will become in the future. Each film is entertaining, but Hunger Games seemed more entertaining than Divergent. Perhaps it is because Divergent tells the story of a plebe seeking entry into Dauntless through a rigorous and brutal training program. Whereas, the Hunger Games was a more adventure filled, problem solving competition with no punches barred. Each film has merit and each tells a good story. Both are worth watching.

Normally, Peggy and I don’t go for the sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book themed stories of the future, but this one had both of us riveted.

 

Deep Thought

Peg and I spent a beautiful day at the movie house and saw a wonderful film, “Saving Mr. Banks.” The only Oscar nomination it has received is for Music. That is too bad because the story is true and heart warming. Unfortunately, not all heart warming films become Oscar nominated films.  The story covers the twenty year quest by Walt Disney to get the author of Mary Poppins to agree to let him make it into a movie. What I found most fascinating were the flashbacks into the author’s early childhood, and the influence her early life had on the characters in the story. In one scene Mrs. Travers arrives in Hollywood and stays at the Hollywood Inn Hotel. Disney sets her up with a suite and fills it with stuffed dolls of his cartoon characters and food baskets galore. She spots some pears in a basket and viciously throws them out of the window into the swimming pool below. In a much later flashback we learn that as a child she was happily bringing pears to her father when she learns of his death.

Emma Thompson plays the role of Pamela “P.L.” Travers a pseudonym for Helen Goth. Thompson portrays Mrs. Travers expertly and convincingly. She is a complicated woman who is very possessive and protective of the characters in Mary Poppins. We learn that she is so because she based many of them on people from her life. She feels the slightest Disney depiction away from her invention is character assassination.

Disney makes a heroic effort to convince Mrs. Travers to allow him to make the film, he promises her that he will not destroy her characters nor the context of the story. His motive for making the movie is a promise he made to his daughters. The promise is already twenty years old when this story takes place. I wonder if I would be so diligent as to spend twenty years trying to make good on a promise to my daughter. It takes a lot of persistence and doggedness to last that long.

The characters in this movie got into my head and now I want to read the book to get a deeper insight into all of them. So many times we are left to our own imagination to fill in scenes between the lines. For example, I learned by reading that Mrs. Travers’ father played by Colin Farrell died from alcoholism. The film did portray him as a drinker, but I wondered if it was an addiction or because he was using alcohol to kill pain from some other malady. Maybe that is just me, but I thought the film did not make that detail clear enough. Perhaps it isn’t even relevant to the story, but it left me wanting.

Throughout the story, Mrs. Travers maintains a cool unattached persona, but by the end she lets her hair down and befriends her driver Ralph played by Paul Giamatti. She actually let him call her Pam instead of the cold Mrs. Travers she demanded to that point.

Tom Hanks portrays Walt Disney and even though he isn’t a 100 percent carbon copy of the man in likeness he makes it work. By the end of the first few scenes I believed he was Walt Disney.

We enjoyed the story and discussed it over dinner and again over breakfast this morning. One major revelation came out of our discussion, Peg never saw Mary Poppins. When it came out her life and kids were beyond watching a film like Mary Poppins. Today, I will find a copy of the movie and we will watch it together. I give the film four stars.

The Return of Aga Bam-bi

The garden looked better this day than it had in a long time. A cover of dark grey clouds hovered over the 2013 Monet Vision, and a light mist of rain fell giving the new plants the drink they longed for. Grumpa Joe admired his work from the dry warm comfort of the sun-room. Coffee cup in hand he walked to the kitchen to survey the area between the pond and the border garden. A flurry of sparrows and finches fought for space on Grandma Peggy’s bird feeder. She had filled it in the morning and by now it was nearly empty. He looked down to assess the amount of feed falling to the ground under the feeder. There was a large round spot of bright yellow-tan seed directly under the feeder bowl. “I wonder if Peggy is spilling feed on the ground for the critters?”  Then he spotted the furry body of Aga Bam-bi. “He blends so well with the ground, I can’t believe I nearly missed him.”

Aga Bam-bi hunched on the ground at the edge of the seed circle. His nose twitching as he chewed the seed. His ears continuously turning and twisting in all directions listening for danger. Grumpa Joe lightly tapped the window with a fingernail. Aga Bam-bi froze.

He is bigger and fatter than Grumpa Joe remembered him from a year ago. He wondered where Aga Bam-bi was for the last twelve months. “He hasn’t found the petunias yet, that is good, but I’m sure he will,” muttered Grumpa under his breath.

Deep inside the briar patch within the wetland Ali Bug-Bunee sat in conference with his cell. A full year had passed since the cell expelled Aga Bam-bi. The cell had remained in sleeper status during that time.  The cell had been busy multiplying, and Ali faced a small crowd of cell members. Many of the newest members were still shedding their baby fur.

Ali began, “The Nature Spy Alliance(NSA) has informed me that Aga Bam-Bi found his way back to the garden. It is time to use Bam-Bi as a distraction while we execute our plan to devastate the petunias under the cover of darkness. Grumpa Joe does not know we are waiting to attack him. He will think it is Aga who is destroying his Vision. Put your ears at attention and repeat after me, “I solemnly swear to be active only in the darkness under the threat of being fed to the hawks.” They all fluffed their tails and wagged their ears in unison at the completion of the oath.

Petunias. Esperanto: Petunoj. Français : Pétun...

Petunias. Esperanto: Petunoj. Français : Pétunias. Русский: Петунии (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grumpa Joe finished planting the last six petunia plants near the window where he spotted Aga two days ago. “I’m taking my chances with this critter, but he has stayed away from the feeder for a while, and I feel confident that he won’t eat them.” As Grumpa Joe patted the final plant into place, he spotted Aga in the far corner of the garden eating clover flowers.

Grumpa Joe slept in on Saturday and shuffled to the kitchen for his coffee. He raised the shade on the window and looked out at his fresh planting. “What the he. . .? Peg, come here. Look what that damn rabbit has done to the petunias I planted yesterday. He has eaten them to the ground.”

“Now, now dear, he is only a poor little creature who lives a very hard life in nature,” said Peggy.

“That’s it, I’m taking some serious action today.”

“What ‘ll you do?

“I’m building an IED.”

“You aren’t going to blow the poor thing up are you?”

“No, no, I meant an Improvised Entrapment Device(IED). I’ll catch him and take him for a ride.”

The striped squirrels working for the NSA were listening to Grumpa Joe from under the stoop. Chip made a mad dash across the patio and through the Cranesbill into the wetland to report to Ali.

“Excellent work Chip, you have done well. Grumpa Joe doesn’t suspect a thing. Aga will get the blame and we will fill our bellies with petunia flowers until they are all gone. If we are lucky, Joe will trap Aga with his IED and we will be rid of him too.”

to be continued. . .

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