“Are you ready Anya?” I asked as she closed the door to our apartment.
“You bet, Santa. I would never have dreamed that some of your JATS (Jolly Assistants To Santa). would invite us to go camping with them and their wives. I’m so excited to begin our next adventure,” my wife answered.
Grabbing our bags, we strolled to the reindeer barn where Highstep had the Dulcet, Ms. Claus’s sleigh, ready. “Are you sure you know how to handle this, Highstep,” I teased while my wife and I settled into our seats.
“Who do you think has to test-drive these sleighs after they have been repaired?” Highstep laughed. “So, settle back and enjoy the ride.”
Directing the team of reindeer to take to the sky, Highstep turned on the guiding compass and set the course for southeastern Kentucky where we would pick up our camper and drive to Carter Caves. “It will be unusual to go camping with others,” I remarked, watching the sun rise.
Anya nodded. “True, but it will be fun to have company and learn more about these jolly assistants called the Kentucky Santas.”
“I think this will be a lively group of people,” I responded. “But I’m beginning to wonder what the rest of the campers at the park will think of a bunch of guys with white beards.”
“Look at it this way,” chuckled Anya while slipping her arm through mine. “You will blend right in, and no one will know that the real Santa is camping just like they are!”
When we arrived at Carter Caves, the Kentucky Santas and their wives greeted us with cheers. “So glad you could make it!” Terrance exclaimed and directed me to #34 where Anya and I parked our camper. Joining in to help, my assistants soon had us set up in time for lunch.
“This is so kind of you to invite us,” Anya remarked sitting down at the picnic table.
“Well….” Terrance’s wife, Tina began, “we were shocked that you accepted our invitation.”
“Why would you feel that way,” Anya responded. “Santa and I love to camp, and sharing it with some of his JATS and their wives makes it even more exciting.”
Relieved, Tina smiled. “Well…. I think you’re going to love what we have planned. Today we intend to relax, enjoy one another’s company, and have a campfire tonight. Tomorrow we’ll go on a tour of one of the caves and then hike the following day. I also think that we…”
Before Tina could finish, I spotted seven children walking our way. “Which one of you is really Santa?” the tallest boy asked as they carefully looked at the five of us in beards.
“Well, that depends on how you see them,” Kasey, one of the wives explained
‘All children know Santa when they see him,” Andy, another Kentucky Santa, remarked as he walked over towards the children. “It’s something special that children recognize about the jolly, old elf.”
“Well, then,” the youngest girl answered, “I think it’s you,” and pointed in my direction.
“Greta, how can you tell? They all have beards,” another girl said shaking her head.
“His eyes twinkle, just like it says in my Christmas book,” she answered, stamping her foot.
“Kids!” a loud voice announced, “enough of this. These people came to camp and have fun, not be badgered with a bunch of questions. I’m sorry,” the young woman apologized turning in our direction, “but my son and daughter and their cousins have been pestering my husband and me since all of you arrived and set up camp. Then they formed this posse and came over to check for themselves who you really were,” she finished throwing up her hands. Grinning the mom added, “Hope you don’t mind.”
Laughing and talking at the same time, my JATS. and their wives walked over to the children as Ernie, the JAT with the longest beard, began to explain why all of us were there.
I was about to join them when I noticed Greta standing beside my camp chair. “Are you really Santa,” she whispered.
Looking at her, I replied in a low voice, “What does your heart say?”
Pondering my question, Greta smiled. “I think you are, but why are YOU here?”
“Can’t Santa have a vacation with friends?” I asked. “After all, I do work hard and so do my elves. And I believe that if you have done everything to help make Christmas special, your efforts should be rewarded, don’t you?”
Greta again thought about what I had said and gave a solemn nod of her head. “You’re right Santa, and I’m glad that you came here to have fun and relax. But did Ms. Claus come with you?”
Looking at her worried face, I grinned. “She certainly did. She’s over there,” and pointed in Anya’s direction.
“Ms. Claus looks kind and happy.”
“I’ll tell her that. She’ll appreciate what you said,” I replied and motioned for her to come closer. “Now tell me, what do you want for Christmas?”
Greta clapped her hands and jumped in my lap, “Santa…. I didn’t think you’d ever ask me!!”
Notes From Santa
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one September 1st. If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until then . . .
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