Spring Picnic

Spring Picnic

“Looks like the elves are starting to arrive,” my wife said as she looked out the window toward the courtyard in the center of Christmas Village.

“The Spring Picnic is not supposed to start for another hour,” I responded and walked over to see for myself.

“They have a fire going in the pit, and look at all the blankets already laid out.”

Grabbing our blanket, I slipped my arm around Anya’s shoulders. “Let’s go. We need to get out there and spread our blanket before there is no space left.”

“You do that Santa. I’ll be along as soon as I finish packing our picnic basket.”

“Make sure you have plenty of cookies.” I watched Anya put her hands on her hips.

“Would you like to do the packing?”

Knowing better than to answer, I smiled at my wife and left to join the elves.

“Hey Santa,” Lyra said as I laid out our blanket near the gazebo.

“Lyra, how are you? Are you going to enter any of the races?”

The little elf walked over and whispered into my ear. “I talked with Heddy, your abominable snowman friend yesterday, and he agreed to do the three-legged race with me.”

“Isn’t he a bit tall for you?” I asked.

“Yes, but that’s part of the plan.”

“What do you mean?”

“Make sure you come to the race. You’ll see. It’s a surprise, and I guarantee that we will win!” Lyra waved and quickly left.

Anya soon arrived and placed the picnic basket on the blanket. “I saw you talking with Lyra. What’s up?”

“It’s a big secret,” I laughed. “Lyra’s partnering with Heddy in the three-legged race. Says they’re guaranteed a win.”

Ms. Claus giggled and took a seat on the blanket. “That elf has always been confident in anything she does.”

As I tried to peek inside the basket, Anya playfully slapped my hand. “You can’t be hungry after that big breakfast you had.”

“Just checking to see what you brought.”

“Come on Santa. You were looking for a cookie.”

Just then the loud speaker crackled. “The games are about to begin,” Bernard announced. “If you are participating, please move to the game area next to the gazebo.”

Ms. Claus and I walked over towards the gazebo and noticed several teams lining up for the wheelbarrow race. To my surprise Nippy the snowman and Onni the Arctic Fox were a team as well as Polar Pete and his girlfriend Blaire.

I leaned over and whispered, “I don’t think this is going to be fair. Pete is the fastest at the North Pole. If Blaire can keep up with him, no one is going to beat them.”

Anya nodded. “This race could be interesting.”

“Everyone ready?” Bernard announced. When all the elves cheered, he yelled, “On your mark!”

A member of each team put their hands on the ground as their partner picked up their legs. Some held their partners by the ankles while others grabbed their knees.

“Get Set! GO!!”

Pete and Blaire jumped out to a quick lead, with Patches and Needler a distant second. Nippy and Onni were last, which did not surprise me as Onni’s front legs were half the length of an elf’s arm. As the group approached the half way mark, Babble and Booker took over second place, but still trailed Pete and Blaire.

When the two polar bears approached the finish line, Blaire lost control of her left paw and tumbled to the ground. As they scrambled to get set up again, the mail room elves, Babble and Booker, passed them. Crossing the finish line first, they beat Patches and Needler by inches.

“Way to go!” screamed Sophia, mailroom manager, while the elves jumped up and down cheering.

As everyone congratulated the winners, the polar bear team walked past Anya and me.  “Sorry about your luck Pete,” I said. “Thought you had it won, until Blair fell.”

Polar Pete smiled and winked, “Yeah, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.”

“Hmm,” I muttered. “I think Pete and Blaire lost on purpose.”

“That sounds like Polar Pete,” Anya whispered. “Always looking out for others.”

“Next up will be the three-legged race,” the announcer informed everyone.

The participants gathered near the starting line and began tying one’s right leg to the other’s left leg for the race. When Lyra and Heddy stood together, the elf did not even come up to the Yeti’s hip.

“I wonder what Lyra is planning,” my wife mumbled shaking her head.

“So do I. This race could get exciting.”

The teams approached the line while the contestants placed one arm around the back of each other’s mate. Bernard again called out, “On your mark – Get set – GO!”

Given Heddy’s height of eight feet, he carried Lyra on his leg allowing them to create an insurmountable lead. The scout elf team of Snickers and Lollipop were a distant second, but never gave up. When Heddy and Lyra crossed the finish line well in front of them, some elves cheered. But a small group began to holler, “Foul!”

Bernard picked up the medals and put his hand up for silence. “As judge, I am disqualifying Heddy and Lyra and awarding 1st place to Snickers and Lollipop.”

Several elves cheered while others grumbled. “WHY?” one of them shouted.

An argument erupted among the elves. Bernard let them go on for a few seconds and then again held up his hand.  “This was a three-legged race,” he explained. “Since Lyra’s right leg hardly touched the ground, I am declaring that they did not conform to the rules.”

I walked over where Bernard stood. “I know many of you are disappointed and believe that Bernard is being unfair,” I said while the quarreling slowly subsided. “However, I feel he is right. You have to play by the rules. Without them, why have a race?”

Some of the elves continued complaining, but most nodded in agreement. “I understand what you mean, Santa,” Blanche, kitchen manager, called out, “but it’s hard to accept when you were rooting for another team.”

“It’s good to know that in spite of your feelings, you understand that elves are fair-minded people,” I responded.

Everyone cheered and broke into an elvish song of good will. I slipped up beside my wife and patted her hand. “Proud of my workers. What a group.”

“I sooo agree,” Anya exclaimed as we hurried towards Lyra.

“I know you were expecting to win,” I remarked when we caught up with her. “Are you disappointed that you were disqualified?”

“Not at all Santa! It’s all about participating and having fun. Let me tell you, being carried on an Abominable Snowman’s leg like that was as good as any ride I’ve ever had!” Lyra lifted her hand to give me a high five. “See you around, Santa,” she shouted and left with her friends.

My wife squeezed my arm and in a low voice said, “You did good, Santa.” When Anya saw my confused look, she continued. “You’ve taught the elves the value of fair play and friendship, and in our village that’s important. It helps to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in all of us.”

Notes From Santa

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. Stories are posted on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, except December. Santa’s next story will be posted on Saturday June 15, 2024.  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 the next time . . .

To read more about Christmas Village events please check out:

The Great Cookie Bakeoff – July 6, 2020
If I Could Be Anything – September 14, 2020
Let the Games Begin – August 16, 2021
Reindeer Games – September 6, 2021
International Games – August 5, 2023
Lego Contest – February 17, 2024

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