Leaning against the kitchen counter, I was sipping my hot cocoa, when Ms. Claus came into the kitchen. “What would you like for breakfast, Santa?”
“Breakfast? Did you forget what today is?”
Anya stopped to think for a moment. Shrugging her shoulders, she asked, “What did I forget?”
“The elves will be starting to line up at the meeting hall in about 30 minutes. You know they will expect us to be there.”
Surprised, Ms. Claus placed her hand over her mouth. “How did I forget?” she finally responded. “Dior, the elf doctor, reminded me last night just before dinner.” She grabbed my hand and shyly said, “I know we need to set an example for the elves.”
As I put down my cup, I nodded and explained, “Some of the elves are not so sure about this, so I think we should be the first ones in line.”
Picking up her shawl, Anya walked toward the door as I opened it. “Santa, we have been dealing with this pandemic for over a year now,” she said as we continued walking, and you’d think the elves would be excited about finally getting the vaccination.”
“I agree, but the elves can sometimes overthink things,” I responded.
Before Ms. Claus could reply a voice from behind us said, “Morning Santa and Ms. Claus.”
We both glanced back to see Smokey, the oldest elf at the North Pole. “Morning Smokey. You heading over to get your shot?” I asked.
“You bet!” he exclaimed. “Being more vulnerable to the virus, I want to be sure I’m protected. I’m just not sure which vaccine to get.”
Ms. Claus walked over to Smokey and told him, “I’m not sure which vaccine Dior has for us, but all three have been proven to keep everyone from getting really sick and needing to be put in the hospital. I’ll be happy no matter which one we get.”
“Could not agree more, Anya!” I said as we grabbed each other’s hand and continued walking toward the meeting hall.
Cutting through the courtyard we passed several elves gathered in a circle talking. “Good morning,” I interrupted. “I trust you are getting your shot today.”
Parlor took a step toward us and asked, “Is it safe Santa? We were just talking about how quickly they came up with the vaccine and are wondering if they rushed things.”
“That’s right!” Jonah insisted. “Vaccines usually take much longer to test and ensure that they are safe.”
“Normally that would be the case, but the scientists have used new technology, that they have been working on for about 25 years, to advance the time frame,” I explained.
Smokey took a seat on a nearby bench and spoke to the elves. “It’s a lot like the toys we make for children at Christmas. The children think we make them when we get their letters or when they tell Santa what they want. However, from experience we have a pretty good idea what children want and actually start making toys about ten months before they even ask.”
Pushing his way to the front of the group, Sully asked, “Even though that makes sense, how do we know that this vaccine doesn’t actually give us the COVID virus?”
Ms. Claus was quick to respond, telling Sully, “The vaccine does not contain the actual virus. It’s more like instructions for your body on how to jump start your immune system. That way if you come in contact with the virus, your body will know how to fight it on its own.”
“You know that Bernard posts instructions he created for all the workshops, right?” I asked.
After the elves nodded in agreement, I smiled and continued. “No matter what workshop you may be in that day, there are instructions so that you can jump right in making the toys, and no one has to show you how it’s done.”
Putting my arm around Anya’s shoulder, I directed us to the Meeting Hall. “Well…. are you coming?”
Though hesitant, the elves looked at one another and finally nodded their approval and followed us.
As we were walking, Olaf said, “I had COVID-19, so I am not sure why I need to get the vaccination.”
I immediately stopped and looking at Olaf, responded, “We don’t know for sure that having the virus keeps you from getting it again, and the next time could be more serious. I think you need to be vaccinated to make sure you have the best protection against the virus.
“It’s a lot like wearing safety glasses and gloves while you are working in the workshops. Most of the time nothing happens, but if something should happen, you know you are protected,” Ms. Claus added.
Olaf hung his head a bit, “You’re right, Ms. Claus. I should not take any chances by not getting the vaccine.”
Just as we walked up to the door it opened and Dior leaned out. “We are all set to begin. Come on in! Who is going to be first?”
Ms. Claus and I raised our hands and walked over to the table Dior had set up. Taking a seat in the chairs next to it, we rolled up our sleeves. Watching the elves come in, we didn’t realize how quickly the vaccinating went till Dior announced, “All done Santa and Ms. Claus.”
“I didn’t even feel anything.”
“Neither did I,” remarked Ms. Claus as she looked at her arm.
“Don’t be surprised if your arm feels a little sore. If it does just put some ice on it and try to use it more,” Dior instructed. “And drink lots of fluids today. It will help lessen any other side effects like tiredness and headaches.”
Standing to the cheers of all the elves waiting for their chances to get a shot, Anya and I laughed. Taking a little bow, we heard someone in the back holler, “YEAH! No more masks or social distancing!”
Dior immediately stopped what he was doing and standing next to me, shook his head. “These vaccines were developed and tested for their ability to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19,” he announced. “It’s not clear whether they also protect against symptomless infection and the spread of the virus. So, after you get the vaccine, you should still take steps to protect other elves who haven’t been vaccinated yet.”
“Listen to what Dior says. He hasn’t steered us wrong yet,” I stated loudly. “Now, all of you need to line up and wait patiently while Dior and his assistants vaccinate everyone.”
Again, the elves cheered, knowing that what they were doing today made the North Pole Village a safer place.
As Anya and I walked hand in hand back to our apartment to have our breakfast, I remarked, “If people everywhere do their part in getting vaccinated and remain cautious, this Christmas may just be normal again allowing me to visit with families in person again instead of virtually.”
“Let’s hope so. I know how much you love visiting the girls and boys during the holidays!” Ms. Claus exclaimed. “And what a difference that will make in the lives of children throughout the world.”
Notes From Santa
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 . . .