Murder on Christmas Eve

There is always something extra to do on Christmas Eve. For instance, this year I published books for the three youngest grand children. They have sat on my desk for a month, but here I was at the last-minute rushing to wrap them. To get some work space I disappeared to my workshop in the basement. There I would have the space, materials, tools, and desire needed to wrap the gifts in solitude. The job took all of fifteen minutes, and I had peace knowing it was done. It was time to clean up, and to put the paper back in the pantry. Upon returning, I noticed a funny black rope like thing on the floor just five feet from where I stood wrapping. A closer look revealed the rope was alive. Oh S__t! ISIS has invaded Frankfort  (Illinois Snake Inside Shop).

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This is the fourth time in nine years I have had to deal with one inside. Each time it is in the winter, it is in the basement, and each time it rattles me. The previous three times the snakes were small, only about a foot long and the diameter of a pencil. This time the damn thing was two feet long and much bigger in girth. It was also much scarier. I am still in a quandary about how they get in. One theory is that they enter from the sump pump water storage hole. In the midwest we place a large plastic pipe filled with holes around the perimeter of the house foundation. It allows ground water to seep into the sump instead of seeping into the basement. There is a pump in the hole which lifts the water out into the yard away from the house. I envision the garter snake using this pipe system as a winter den and following the water into the sump. We had a heavy rain two days earlier and most likely the snake washed into the hole. At least, that is one plausible explanation.

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My mind raced with solutions for getting the snake out of the house, and also from my mind. I recalled a story from my book Jun-e-or(available from Amazon in eBook format). I wrote a vignette titled “Scream” in which I describe my mother’s dislike for snakes, and how she dealt with them.

I made a quick trip to my tool box to find a weapon, and stealthily walked back to the slithery creature from behind. There was no way I wanted to scare this thing into some dark recess of scrap woodpiles scattered about my shop. I had visions of picking a piece of wood for a project and uncovering a mass of twisted yellow striped squirming bodies in a hibernaculum. The image of my mom’s method for dealing with a serpent played wildly in my mind, and in a second it was over. I used my putty knife to decapitate the poor thing. I walked away filled with pangs of guilt thinking I murdered one of God’s creatures on Christmas Eve.

By the time I got a dust pan and a bench brush to sweep the corpse up, he was coiled on his back exposing his under belly, a pool of blood oozed from his body, his head joined by a sliver of skin. It took a quick brush onto the pan and a dump into a plastic bag. I walked upstairs past Peg sitting on the couch reading. She looked up and said “what have you got in the bag?”

“Just a last minute gift for the kids,” I said. I took it immediately to the trash can in the garage and disposed the evidence.

 

Obama Eve

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This morning I awoke late and feeling good. “Good morning birthday boy,” said Peg, “happy birthday.”

“It is not my birthday,” I replied.

“Well what is it then?”

“It is Obama Eve.”

“Are you crazy?”

“No, I’m just thinking that we call the day before Christ’s birthday Christmas Eve, shouldn’t the day before our first black president’s birthday be named the same? He is, after all, transforming the world as we know it.”

I went on to explain that we are all joyful to celebrate Christ’s birthday. So much so, that we can’t bear the anticipation and begin our celebration the day before. Isn’t it the same before the newly proclaimed messiah of the Western World’s birthday? Not really, but it is the opposite of Christ’s birthday. Christmas is a joyful time with an overwhejlming spirit of giving and good cheer. Regardless of how tough our lives are we forget our pain at Christmas and spread what little we have to our loved ones and forget any animosities between us in the spirit of peace and joy. On Obama Eve people who relish taking engulf us. They love taking, not giving. Instead of love and peace there is racial divide. Instead of being happy about the life we enjoy living with Christ, we see sadness everywhere. It is as if people are at a dead-end. There is no joy in losing liberty, a job, replacing the job with two or three part-time ones. There is sadness in seeing our government deny God, and then attack our right to worship. There is no happiness or joy watching Islam proclaim itself as a religion, yet profess to kill us in the name of God.

Yes, Obama Eve is the complete opposite of Christmas Eve, and the idea of turning seventy-five on Obama Eve does not make me happy.

However, I am thankful for all those years of great health, and the blessings of a wonderful family to cheer me. I am grateful for having the privilege of spending forty-two years with an amazing friend, lover, and wife. I am grateful for the gift of a second beautiful wife for seven plus years, and the family she gave me.

There are so many things I am happy about that even the dark cloud of Obama Eve can not depress me.

Grand Elf Christmas Pageant

With each passing year, I love little kids more. Not that I didn’t love my kids, but they were brats at times. Now, I can walk away from all the brattiness. It’s fun to watch them when they are at their best. It also gives me great pleasure to watch revenge being dispensed upon my own progeny.

Last night, Grandma Peggy and I went to watch Grand Elves 3 and 5 perform. Grand Elf 3 is in the school band, while his little sister, Grand Elf 5,  is in the first grade choir. They were great. The band reminded me of the scene from Music Man where Professor Harold Hill begins to conduct the kids with their new instruments. “Think kids, think.” Half of the band members were new to their instruments. The conductor/music teacher, proudly announced that they had been taking lessons for six weeks. Just as in Music Man, when the kids began playing, the parents began to swoon and had visions of their kid in Carnegie Hall.

I was pleased when the older kids re-enacted the tribulations of Mary and Joseph on Christmas Eve complete with a rejection at the Inn. This evening  is one that will  linger in my memory, and will be good for a few private conversations with their grandmother.

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C9-THE RESCUE

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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