As Sophia shut the door to the mailroom, Ms. Claus sighed. “Tomorrow will be just as busy as it was today.”
“Ms. Claus, you look tired. Is there anything I can do?”
Looking at her assistant, Ms. Claus smiled. “Thanks, but with the extra help Santa gave us, we were able to finish our daily work. However, the way you are looking at me,” she added, “I can tell that you have another question.”
Nodding her head, Sophia explained, “Well…. I’m kind of concerned. You haven’t been yourself lately. With Christmas only weeks away, all of us at the North Pole are happy, even if we are overworked and tired. But….”
As Sophia tried to find the words, Ms. Claus interrupted. “I love your concern, but don’t worry about me,” Ms. Claus responded. “However, if you have time,” she added, “would you stop by the kitchen and ask Blanche to bring me some of her chicken soup? I don’t want a full meal right now and just need some quiet time and rest.”
Sophia looked at her boss and nodded. “No problem,” she remarked, as she headed toward the kitchen.
Arriving at our apartment, Ms. Claus quietly entered and was surprised to see a fire blazing in the fireplace. “Oh, this is so nice,” she whispered, “but who…”
“I thought you could use a cozy fire after a long day at work my dear.”
“Oh Santa!” Ms. Claus said reaching out to give me a hug. “You think of everything, but how did you know….”
Before Anya could answer, I smiled and gave her a kiss. “Remember, I’m Santa, that’s my job.”
“Sophia talked to you, didn’t she?” answered Ms. Claus as she sat down in her chair by the fire. Taking off her shoes and putting on her slippers, she added, “Somehow she thinks something is bothering me.”
“Isn’t there? Of all the workers at the North Pole, Sophia and I know you best,” I remarked. “Anya, it’s the happiest time of the year, and you are sad. I think you have a case of the blues.”
“Seems that I can’t keep much hidden from you for long,” Ms. Claus responded with a deep sigh. “I thought I’d catch the Christmas spirit by now and all would be well.”
“But it isn’t, is it?”
Ms. Claus nodded in agreement. As she turned to look at me, I sat in my chair beside her. Taking a deep breath, she began to explain. “For years, you and I spent our slow time in the spring and summer visiting various parts of the world as well as people we have come to know. …” Anya’s voice trailed off as she began to daydream. “I loved doing all those things. Unfortunately, this year we could not because of the coronavirus.”
“But you understand why?” I responded, giving her a surprised look.
“Yes, yes,” she answered shaking her head sadly. “I know, I know. I wouldn’t want to do anything to infect those we care about at the North Pole. I love the elves and our home, but getting away by ourselves to experience new adventures was fun. We learned so much about other places and people which made a difference in our life. Santa… I just miss that.”
Patting my wife’s hand, I smiled. “Those were good times, and like you, I also miss our adventures.”
“Do you remember our time on top of the Eiffel Tower when a little French girl came running toward you yelling, “‘Pere Noel! Pere Noel!’, and gave you a big hug? That warmed my heart.”
I nodded and smiled. Easing back into my chair, I reflected, “That is a good memory Anya! But do you remember that time when we crossed into New Brunswick, Canada from Maine in the United States and stopped at the border crossing?”
Holding back her laughter, Ms. Claus smiled. “Oh, I couldn’t forget that. The guard walked up to our car and said, ‘Well Santa, you are a long way from home.’ Grinning he asked to see our passports.”
“After letting out a loud Ho, Ho, Ho, I handed him the passports.” Chuckling, I turned to look at Anya. “Do you recall when he peeked into the car and said, ‘Nick and Anya Klaus with a K, interesting! Have to admit, you do look the part, but Ms. Klaus, you appear to be a bit young for this guy. Enjoy your visit!’ Then after we laughed, I called out, ‘William Gordon, you are still on my nice list.’ As we drove away, I watched when his face looked at our car in total surprise. He was speechless, especially since he wasn’t wearing his name badge.”
Ready to share another story, we stopped when there was a knock at the door. “Hmm… It must be the soup I asked Blanche to deliver,” Ms. Claus explained.
As the two of us got up, we heard, “You better watch out! You better not cry! You better not pout, I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.”
Opening the door, I grinned, “What a pleasant surprise,” I said as a small group of elves continued to sing. Looking over at Anya, I saw her eyes water as she slipped her arm through mine.
When the elves finished, they made a path for Blanche and Sophia as they brought forward two trays of food. “Here you go Santa and Ms. Claus, everything you really like. Enjoy your dinner.”
Before either Anya or I could respond, the elves broke into another song. “We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas; we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!” Then without hesitating, they waved and made their way down the hallway continuing to sing.
“Can you imagine that!” exclaimed Anya as she helped me take the food inside to a small table by the fire.
“Feeling better, Anya?” I asked giving her a hug.
“Much better,” she answered. Looking at me she added, “You know Santa, I may get the blues from time to time, but the coronavirus can’t take away from the real meaning of Christmas – sharing love and kindness with others.”
Notes From Santa
To read more about Sophia please check out: Ms. Claus Gets Some Help, which was posted on November 11, 2019, 2019;
To read more about the Mail Room please check out: Translating Letters For Santa, which was posted on August 19, 2019; Sensitive Letters, which was posted on November 18, 2019; A Little Bit of Elf Magic, which was posted on April 20, 2020; and Scout Elf Precautions, which was posted on September 28, 2020
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. 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 next week . . .
Illustration by FireMane Studio