Yes, even Santa's reindeer need to workout!
This is one of the many stories in my second book, Life Through These Eyes, Vol II. It is titled, "Reindeer Training Camp." It is a true story? It is...if you want it to be true.
Volume II is comprised of 14 chapters, with each one dealing with a different topic. Here are the chapters in order: Respect (What we have lost and why); Some Get It - Some Don't (Politics at its best and worst); A Child of The 50's (My memories of growing up in a kinder and gentler time); Really Special People & Places (Stories about men, women, and flags); Being A Man...It Isn't Easy (all about the dumb things we do...and why); My Home Sweet Home (Special stories about my small mountain hometown); I my Garden (Special moments between Sandra and I and inspiring gardeners); Sitting In A Tree...K i s s i n g (Young love & Old love); Holidays (Memories and fantasies of then and now); My Community Soap Box (Praise and criticism and a little preaching); Family & Friends ( Special times & people, opened up); Oh Those Beautiful Brown Eyes ( Prepared to cry...about Merry our precious Lab); When You Stop Learning - You Stop (32 years of educational experience pours out); The Shape of Mean (Personal look at people I really dislike and senseless acts).
Fourteen Chapters. Fourteen topics. Easy reading that will make you laugh, cry...and perhaps THINK. At least I hope they do.
And now, for a 'snippet' from Volume II, here is "Reindeer Training Camp"
“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the window which hope has opened.” – Charles Spurgeon
This story is for the children, young and old who still believe.
Recently, I was privileged to attend the North Pole Reindeer Training Camp.
On December 1st, Santa has all his reindeer report for camp. No, they don’t live with Santa all year long. As he called role, each raised his hoof or replied “here” with a snort: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. Rudolph, just “blinked” his nose.
Their contracts required them to weigh no more than 350 pounds. Apparently, Dasher, impressed with his performance last year, spent way too much time at the moss and grass buffet. He weighed a pudgy 475.When Vixen got on the scales, the other reindeer gasped! Last year he was a slim 275. This year he was “ripped and cut,” weighing a rock-hard 350 pounds. Rumors of performance enhancing moss swirled.
At dinner, one of the elves, Bushy Evergreen, told some facts not generally known about Rudolph. Such as: His father is Donner and his nickname is Rudy. And it was Donner who suggested his son take the lead…to light the way on that one foggy Christmas Eve. For without that glowing red beacon, Christmas might have been cancelled. That night Rudy secured his place in history.
At precisely 5 a.m. the next morning, elf Wunhorse Openslae rousted the reindeer for breakfast. While most dined on carrots, oatmeal flavored grass, and succulent moss, Dasher was placed on a special low cal diet of dried leaves and birch bark. After breakfast, for endurance, Rudy led the mighty seven on a 50-mile trot through the snow. Dasher was confined to a treadmill under the supervision of elf Alabaster Snowball.
After the run, they (including Dasher) lifted weights, under the direction of elf Shinny Upatree. Each was required to pull a 500-pound Yule log a distance of 400 yards from the toy shop to the reindeer barn, and back. The agility training was designed to perfect rooftop landings and takeoffs. Elf Pepper Minstix had them sprint 10 yards and stop, shuffle right then left, and sprint 10 yards, a total of 200 yards. Moving 36 hooves and 9 massive antlers in one direction was no easy chore, but one they had to master.
Surprising no one, Vixen won all the strength and agility drills, adding to the rumors of performance enhancing moss. The first week ended with its share of injuries. Dasher had “turf hoof.” Dancer strained his knee. Their trainer, elf Sugarplum Mary, immediately iced it down in a snow bank. Blitzen received a concussion when the harness on his Yule log broke and he ran head first into the mail room. However, they all recovered quickly. Their big night was approaching.
During breakfast on day 7, Santa’s mandatory drug testing results were revealed. With all eyes fixed on Vixen, Sugarplum announced, “All tests negative!” And the room erupted with clicking hooves and Rudy’s nose blinking wildly. Vixen was proof: extraordinary results can be achieved by ordinary hard work and dedication.
The second week of training camp began with intense harness work. It was magical to see all nine reindeer working as one.
On my last day, I was treated to a sight seen by few – Reindeer Dress Rehearsal.
There they were, dressed in their finest and shiniest Christmas harnesses, impatiently pawing the snow. As Santa settled in his sleigh and tightened the reigns, Wunorse grabbed my arm and said, “Better stand back or you’ll get covered with snow!” In a bellowing voice Santa yelled, “Ready Rudolph! Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen. To the top of the porch. To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away all!” And the magic of Christmas was before me.
As I was leaving, Shinny whispered in my ear, “We ‘hope’ you’ll share this story with the children…young and old.” When I got home, I found this note in my jacket, “If only more people would believe. Love, Sugarplum.”
To those who worry...do not! Rudy is ready.
Even reindeer need to work out.
Hope you enjoyed this little whimsical story. It is just the beginning of my Christmas trilogy. For the next few weeks, my blogs will focus on hope and love. Not a bad way to close this year and open the New Year.
Until next time, this is Michael saying, "Soon, we will hear the bells on Christmas eve."
On the whole, these essays encourage us to nurture our better selves—and who among us doesn’t need an occasional nudge toward greater kindness, tolerance, and appreciation of the things that really matter in life?
“Your humor is absolutely spot-on and intelligent, peppered with a bit of sarcasm and childlike wonder. Your stories have that element of memory, poignant and comic at times, but always heartfelt and affecting. Your language is simple and friendly, weaved seamlessly in your narrative that is consistently lighthearted and warm in tone. Your experience as a teacher shows in your elaborate, playful descriptions and your sharp, unpretentious irony. I am also impressed with the way your structured the book—as a collection of short stories in no chronological order as opposed to one big chunk of episodic chapters that are more or less akin to a journal. It serves the tone and heart of your words perfectly.”