Walking up to the south entrance, Bootsie, one of the cobblers who makes shoes for everyone at the North Pole, was placing a pair of snowshoes back on the rack. “How’s the weather outside today,” I asked.
“It’s beautiful out there today,” he told me. “We did get some fresh snow overnight, so make sure you keep your snowshoes on.”
At the North Pole the snow can be several feet deep. When people and even elves step into deep snow they sink down into it, especially when it’s newly fallen. Snowshoes, however, provide a larger surface on someone’s feet, making it possible to walk on top of the snow.
“It sure would be nice if I didn’t have to wear these every time I go outside,” I expressed as I picked a pair of snowshoes from the rack.
“It’s better than getting stuck in the snow,” Bootsie responded.
“You’re right. It just takes so much time to put them on and take them off. It’s especially a problem when I am delivering gifts in places that get a lot of snow. I have to put them on to get to the chimney and then take them off to get down the chimney. Once I am done in the house and return to the roof, I have to put them on again to get back to the sleigh and then off so I can get into the sleigh.”
“Wow! I never thought about that!” Bootsie exclaimed. “Have you ever tried to get to the chimney without them?”
“A long time ago, I did. I immediately sunk down into the snow almost to my knee, and when I tried to take a step toward the chimney, I slipped and almost fell off the roof!” I explained.
“Seems like there should be something to make it easier,” Bootsie thought out loud.
“If you come up with something, let me know. I’d try almost anything not to have to wear these all the time in deep snow,” I said as I stood up, snowshoes all laced up.
“I hope you enjoy your walk Santa,” Bootsie said turning back toward the village.
When Bootsie returned to the Village he decided to go directly to the Cobbler Workshop. Once in the workshop, he called all the other cobblers together. Explaining in detail what I had told him about the burden of snowshoes, he said, “I’m sure between all of us, we can find a solution to Santa’s problem. Does anyone have any ideas?”
After a few awkward moments of silence, Sandy asked, “Could we use something besides straps on them? Maybe something similar to what we put on skis and snowboards we make for children. That would at least make it easier to put them on and save Santa a little bit of time.”
“That’s certainly a possibility, but I was hoping there would be a way to eliminate his need for snowshoes altogether.”
“Seriously? We might as well make it so that all a child has to do is wish for something, and it will instantly appear,” an elf in the back hollered.
“Come on. Don’t we owe it to Santa to at least try?” Bootsie responded.
“I have an idea,” Cletus said raising his hand. With everyone looking at him now, he continued, “Have any of you ever been to a circus?” When two elves raised their hands, he asked them, “What did you think of the clowns?”
“I loved the way they dress. They wear even more bright colors than we do, and I loved the way they painted their faces,” one elf responded.
“Not to mention the big red noses!” the other chimed in. “They remind me of Rudolph’s.”
“But did you ever notice their shoes?” Cletus asked. When the two shook their heads side to side, indicating that they didn’t, he continued, “The toes of their shoes are oversized, kind of like someone blew them up like a balloon.”
“I think I see what you mean Cletus!” Bootsie exclaimed. “If we could make Santa a pair of boots like them, where they are big enough to keep him from sinking in the snow . . . “
Completing Bootsie’s thought, Cletus added, “But yet small enough that he can still walk without tripping!”
“Let’s give it a try,” Bootsie said.
“Already ahead of you,” Sandy said waving a paper in the air. “This is the pattern for Santa’s boots. I’ll begin drawing a new pattern right away.”
“I’ll begin researching what materials we should use for the large toe of the boots,” an elf in the back of the room shouted.
“Okay, we have a plan. We need to keep this a secret until we have them done and tested. This plan does not leave the workshop,” Bootsie insisted.
Every elf in the room gave Bootsie a thumbs up as they got to work.
Over the next two weeks the cobblers made four different versions, but when they tested them, they all failed for one reason or another. It was the fifth pair that finally passed all their tests, and they were ready to surprise Santa.
One day after lunch, I headed down the tunnel so I could go out on my daily walk. Approaching the end, I saw a number of elves hanging out by the snowshoe rack. “Are all of you going for a walk or did you just come in?”
Bootsie made his way to the front of the elves and said, “Santa, we actually have a surprise for you. Do you remember a few weeks ago when you told me how much trouble it was to keep putting on and taking off your snowshoes while making deliveries?”
“I do, but what does…”
With all the excitement of a child on Christmas morning, Cletus came forward holding the new boots. “We made these for you, so that you will never have to use snowshoes again, Santa!”
“Those are awfully big. I’m afraid I’d trip walking in them,” I stated a bit concerned with the size of the toes.
Sandy spoke up. “Santa, we designed these for, and tested them on, every surface we could think where you would walk. I think you may be surprised how well they work.”
“Well let’s give them a try then,” I said excited about the possibilities.
Pulling them on, they fit my feet perfectly and were very comfortable. Walking slowly at first inside the tunnel, I gradually walked faster, satisfied that I was not going to trip. “These feel great, and I am impressed with how easy it is to walk in them. I guess now we need to test them outside.”
All the elves parted so that I could get to the outside, where about ten inches of new snow had fallen overnight. Slowly placing one foot on the snow, and then the other, I stood for a few moments, to see if I would sink into the snow.
“Come on Santa! Take a few steps, you won’t sink,” I heard one of the elves shout out.
Trusting them as I always have, I began walking around. Amazingly I stayed right on top of the snow as if I had snowshoes on. After a few minutes of walking around I returned to the entrance and exclaimed, “You guys are the best! I can’t wait to show Ms. Claus!”
After a big group hug, I headed down the tunnel excited to show Anya. Walking into our place, it did not take long before Anya asked, “What on earth do you have on? I’ve never seen boots that big!”
“The cobblers made these for me so that I will not have to change in and out of snowshoes all the time. I just tested them, and they are fantastic!”
“Your excitement reminds me of how the children react when they get to talk with you. I hope you properly thanked the elves for their hard work.”
“You bet I did! The best part of this, is that I did not ask them to do it. They saw my need and took it on themselves to solve the problem for me.”
“After all these years you have developed a loving bond with the elves, and obviously they have done the same with you,” Anya said as she kissed my cheek. “I like how they always watch over us and try to make life easier. What a blessing they are.”
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 . . .