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Carol Perkins: Santa and Junior

Previous Column: Red or Gold

By Carol Perkins

Santa settled by the roaring fireplace and drank his hot chocolate. It had been a long day, and his work was grueling. Many kids now asked for technological gifts rather than trucks, cars, and dolls, so he had to work his tech elves over time, tiring out their little bodies.

"I may have to retire," he proclaimed while blowing his drink to cool it.

Mrs. Claus laughed. "You've been threatening that for years, but I haven't noticed you slowing down."

He continued. "Yes, but I've got these bum knees now and a hip that kills me every time I hike my leg to get into the sleigh." Santa had been complaining more frequently over the last few years.

She continued. "Why don't you stop falling down chimneys and stovepipes and go through doors? And what about all those kids sitting on your knees? No wonder your knees are shot. That huffing and puffing gets you back up, but it's the going down that kills you."

Santa didn't have the courage to describe how hard he landed on brick hearths, buckling his knees and jarring his back.

"I've been begging you to let Junior travel along and do the heavy lifting, but you think you've got to do it all yourself. Before long, you're going to need a walker. You can put lights on it and jingle bells," she giggled, although he found the visual quite disturbing.

"That boy doesn't have the knack. He wants to rush and leave half-eaten cookies and glasses of milk."

Mrs. Claus reminded him that Junior hated milk. "He could give it to the reindeer!"

As if on cue, Junior bounced through the door in his red coveralls. "Hey, Dad, I've just about got everything loaded for our trip."

Santa rolled his eyes toward Mrs. Claus. "Did you call him?"

She shrugged.

Santa put down his drink. "Son, what trip would that be?"

Junior expected resistance. "Christmas Eve. I'm going, too, and if you say no, then I'll feed prunes to the reindeer."

Santa laughed so hard, rubbing both bad knees, that he shook like a bowl full of ---well, you know. "Guess we better get some sleep, son. Long night ahead." He winked at Mrs. Claus before limping toward his feather bed.

The following night, Santa whispered into each reindeer's ear and gave a hug before leaving, and then Junior helped him get in the sleigh. "Ho, Ho, Ho," he said, waving to Mrs. Claus. "Keep the fires burning; we'll be back soon." Then he and Junior drove out of sight.

Mrs. Claus whispered to herself, "They'll kill each other," and settled in with her People magazine and a glass of eggnog.

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2023-12-01 08:58:18
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