Robert C. Waggoner
Copyright 2016 by Robert C. Waggoner
“Dad, let’s turn on the snow. It’s almost Christmas Eve. I love it when we have a warm fire and it’s snowing outside. The wonderful smell of an evergreen tree only increases my love of the holiday season,” said Joey.
“A fine idea,” said Dad. “I’ll program it for noon. Your sister will be back by then. She’s giving a lecture on Dome Living to some off-worlders.”
“When will Mother be home,” asked Joey, doing a standing back flip landing perfectly and softly on his feet.
“Ah, she should be home about the same time. She’s getting a scan on her body to make sure all is well mechanically. You’re old enough now to learn that our bodies are entirely man-made and the only thing human we have left is our brain.”
“We learned that last year and it’s no big deal Dad. We got to watch what they called videos of many thousands of years ago of humans who had bodies made of tissue and full of a red substance called blood.”
“I think, Joey that it must be close to the time for a body change for you. I’m surprised we’ve not been notified about that yet. Your brain growth must have a body that fits the knowledge it stores.”
“I check all the time Dad. When I pass under our screen, it tells me when I need a new outfit. Let me go check. I sure don’t want to have an accident and hurt my precious head. My friends tell me it’s not a good idea to have to get a replacement brain. The overseers save the best ones for their friends and relatives.’‘
Mr. Lather, one of five directors of the planet’s dome, was a little worried because a giant asteroid was headed our way. However, he was not going to let that spoil the Christmas Holiday. It was the only holdover holiday from Old Earth.
It was mandatory for all citizens to study their beginnings on the planet Earth. The origins, both scientific and religious, were part of the curriculum. Archeologists kept a good record until pictures and then videos replaced the written word. The idea was to show sentient beings what not to do when habiting a planet. The humans of old were destructive and violent. Others in the universe were similar. That is why the planet’s dome was put in place. There were two reasons: one was to generate the desired environment and the other was for defense.
So far, when attacked, the done protected their planet from destruction. It would be a mighty test coming with the asteroid about to impact the dome in less than a week.
“Dad, hey Dad, are you still here or out in space somewhere,” asked Joey.
“No son, I’m here, but thinking about if our protective shield is strong enough to withstand the impact of a giant asteroid bearing down upon us. I talked to Mr. Lather about it and he said not to worry. Well, son, I’m a little worried. I’ve a meeting with the directors tonight. When your mother comes home, I’ll leave for the Tower.”
Last year at the learning center they did the research on the T-Tower. Officially it was the T-Tower, but for thousands of years, became shortened to just ‘Tower’. It seemed that about four thousand years ago, Earth had an interesting president that came along stirring up the masses He was best known for the Trump Towers. Hence the T-Tower’s became famous. However, the record was unclear what happened to the former President Trump. He faded into obscurity after his hay day behind the Oval Desk. It was not long after that man decided living off world would be safer than looking over your shoulder wondering what was coming next.
Joey went to his room to have some fun with his holographs. Like most young boys, he liked to fly fighter space craft’s that engaged the enemy. However, after he was all set to play, a thought occurred to him. He thought about watching some old movies of Christmas time. The one he chose was a restored movie of a stingy old man who cared for nothing except himself. Joey laughed thinking that is what this Trump guy was all about. In the end, greedy self centered, stingy people die very lonely.
Just as Joey finished watching his movie, his mother came home announcing there was a Christmas festival they could all go to. She said, “It contains skiing downhill with the snow blowing in your face. There are toboggan races you can sit in and race down the ice hills; and ski jumping. For us old timers, we can enjoy ice skating, sleigh rides and singing carols at the simulated church. It should be fun, don’t you think, Joey?”
“Let’s go. I’ll send a message to my friend using my new telepathy Dad got me for an early Christmas present. I’m so happy I could just jump off the building.
That night, yes, the overseers made sure there was night and day to keep the rhythm or cycle of old school going. It was a time of rest that nobody really needed. However, the Watchers were always on the job peering into screens looking for any trouble that the universe was so unexpectedly able to throw at them. Besides they had to keep an eye on the giant asteroid bearing down upon the planet.
After a great time at the Christmas festival, it was time to enjoy the pleasure of really old times of window shopping on special streets duplicated to resemble old earth towns. In those days, businesses closed at 5 pm. Everyone went home to eat dinner and be a family. The streets became deserted except for the cafés and theatre. However, all the stores, department, jewelry, variety and so on left their window lights on to show off their wares. One store in particular, the jewelry store, always shone brightly with diamonds glistening off the mirror and windows. In addition, the show rooms were decorated in the Christmas spirit. There were colored lights, glass balls of various colors, strings of what was called icing resembling frozen ice cycles. Also, green boughs of evergreen nicely placed made it feel like a forest of color. On the doors a wreath welcomes the visitor or customer. Inside the store Christmas music played constantly. It gave all a warm holiday spirit to spend money and give to family and friends.
Joey and family loved this old time feeling of holiday cheer. When they were finished, they went to a shop that sold foods of the past, such as, fudge, divinity, baked apples with caramel, hot drinks of various flavors and of course, popcorn balls. One of the hardest things to duplicate was turkeys and hams. Once again, over the centuries, even those were passable.
Sadly, their mechanical bodies would not digest the eaten food, it simply passed into a holding tank for elimination when full. However, the taste was there and they all enjoyed the old time holiday foods.
Father said, “Well, let’s go home and see what the latest is about the asteroid coming.”
At home the video from the Overseers was playing over and over. It told everyone that if they wanted to, because of the possibility of the asteroid penetrating the shield, to teleport to another planet. The planet’s name was Terra for their ancestral home of Earth.
Joey asked, “What’s there, Dad?”
“Oh, well, it’s like going back many thousands of years to Old Earth. The residents chose not to seek advancement, but to live the way their ancestors did. They live in houses; have electricity from power plants, wagons pulled by animals and on and on. I am sure you would love it Joey. What say we pack up and take a long vacation for the holiday season?”
Joey was curious and went to his room to do some research on planet Terra. In a short time he saw it was very primitive. At least primitive in the sense of high technology. What he really wondered was why they chose that type of life. Here on this planet, life was endless with everyday learning something unique. On Terra it sounded like a lot of work and boredom to him. However, he vowed to keep an open mind and see for himself how another planet’s culture lived.
They left the next day. Of course they were not alone in this relocation. Joey’s father estimated about half of their planets population were joining them on the trip to Terra. Joey asked, “Where will stay when we get there?”
“Good question, son. We’re told that temporary housing is being transported there and will be ready for when we arrive. I guess our Overseers have been thinking about this for a just in case scenario. We don’t need food or heat much. We just don’t want to be an imposition on the habitants. We are being provided gold for our expenses there. We can trade gold for money to spend on whatever we like. If I’m not mistaken, they celebrate Christmas like in the old days. They also have four seasons on this planet. As its now winter, maybe there’s snow on the ground. Wouldn’t that be nice?”
“I can feel cold or hot on my face, Dad. If we are there in the winter, my face could become cold. Wow! That would be quite an experience. This will be the highlight of my life so far.”
The transfer took a very short time. Each family arrived inside their new home. In their new home two rooms were lacking. There was not any kitchen or bathroom, but a sink to wash one’s face was available. A note was on a bulletin board. It said, a meeting in the town’s square would happen in two hours Terra time. A clock on the wall said it was 1pm. Lucky for all newly arrived, they could tell time.
Joey ran outside and saw for the first time, a few inches of snow on the ground. He felt the cold hit his cheeks and when he looked around, the town was surrounded by white snow covered evergreen trees. Looking left and right, all he could see were the new houses like his. He badly wanted to see the town he had heard so much about.
The rest of his family came outside. Dad said, “There’s a map inside saying town is to our left about a ten minute walk. It said that the sidewalks have been cleared of snow so just follow the walk to town.” They all followed the sidewalk to town. Others joined them along the way. Mostly it was quiet as all looked around in amazement at the scenery. Some of the younger ones could be heard exclaiming their excitement in their new environment.
As they approached town, houses made of wood stood two and three stories high. Smoke came out of most telling the newbie’s that a fireplace or wood stove was heating the house. The closer they got to downtown, stores could be seen along both sides of a street. It was here that Joey saw his first horse and wagon parked in front of a lumber store. Next to it was the feed store and on into the center of town various stores were seen. Joey’s mouth hung open wondering what was inside some of these stores. He badly wanted to go inside and look around. But father said later and they soon arrived at the town center.
Standing in the middle of the square stood a statue of some old guy with a beard with his arm pointing to the west. There was writing on the bottom, but too many of his own kind blocked access to the statue.
Most of his kind stood around talking and wondering about this and that. Joey wandered off towards the post office and just as he thought about going in, out walked a pretty girl about his own age. She smiled at him and he fell in love on the spot. She said, “Welcome to Terra. My name is Sunflower and what is yours?”
“Joey is my name and thank you for having us to your home. This place is amazing. I’ve never seen snow before. The air is so cool and feels nice on my face.”
“We all know you have only a human face and not a human body to go with it. That’s all right with us. Your brain is the same as ours, they say. Anyway, tomorrow tonight we have a sleigh ride to sing carols and begin our Christmas season. Would you like to go with me,” she said rather sheepishly.
Joey’s face turned even redder as he blurted out, “Sure I would. Does that mean we ride in a wagon being pulled by horses?”
“Yes, we don’t have any cars or motor vehicles on our planet. We’re a simple civilization that likes the old ways of Earth a long time ago. The exhaust of motors pollutes the air we breathe. Factories belch smoke and cause breathing difficulties. I think you get the idea, Joey.”
“Our culture or civilization went pass that point and now produce energy pollution free. However, to get there, it takes a step at a time. I like this way best. I’m anxious to experience all of your ways first hand. Now, when do we go for a hay ride?”
Joey’s big sister, Andi, was chatting with a young man with a blonde beard and blue eyes. Andi thought him very handsome and loved the shiny blue eyes looking her over. There was not much to look at because their bodies were covered in a robe like dress that reached to the ankles.
Andi asked, “How do you celebrate Christmas, Mr. Larch?”
“We follow our ancient ancestors with a tree and all the decorations we have made or traded for. We sing the old songs of Christmas. We all believe in Santa Claus and you watch, he’ll fly here in his sleigh with his reindeer.”
“Sounds wonderful. I can’t wait until its Christmas Eve. How about food and things like that? Unfortunately for us, we don’t usually eat, but we can taste and swallow.”
“For us, eating is a time for conversation about what the day was like and what we did and learned. Christmas dinner is usually some fowl food. We tried raising turkeys, but they are really stupid animals. Then we went to pork. Our pork or pigs are very lean and almost fat free. We like healthy foods.”
“How many in your family, Mr. Larch?”
“I’m the oldest son and have one younger brother. There’re four in my family. And in yours?”
We have four also. My younger brother is over there talking to that pretty girl.”
“That’s Sunflower. She’s a very intelligent girl. The town thinks she will be a leading scientist of soils.”
“Well, I must go now. I’d love a ride on one of the wagons some time.”
“I’ll pick you up tomorrow night for a hay ride on Christmas Eve. We ride around singing and waiting for Santa to come. When we see him, we go home and go to bed. He comes and gives us presents under our tree. We get up the next morning and see what he brought.”
“I’d love to see a real Santa Clause. Does he live at your North Pole?”
“Yes, he lives there, but nobody has ever been to the North Pole because it’s too cold up there.”
“I see. Well, I’ll wait for you tomorrow. It’s been nice meeting you Mr. Larch.”
Andi found her brother, mother and father standing listening to some town’s person give a welcoming speech. She joined them and listened, but her mind was not on the speaker, but on the idea there really was a Santa Claus.
The town closed down at dusk. Everybody went home to eat and sleep. Joey and family went home, but sat around with a candle burning talking about the strange planet there were on.
Father said, “Well, family, what do you think of this planet so far?”
Each of the other three looked at each other waiting for someone to speak first. A full ten seconds went by and then Joey, got brave.
“I think this place makes me feel good and right at home. The people here work a lot each and every day except on Sunday when they go to church. I met this girl who told me that tomorrow night is a hay ride where they sing carols about Christmas. She invited me to come along. I want to go and experience the event.”
Andi said, “Me too. I met a man who told me the same thing. He also said that after midnight, Santa comes delivering presents and spreading joy and good will. I like that idea and hope I can really see the mythical Santa Claus and his reindeer.”
“Don’t get your hopes up too high, Andi. The Santa Claus myth has been around for thousands of years. What makes you think this Claus is immortal?”
“I know Dad. But even if it’s not true, the idea is warm and a nice break from our past lives.”
Mother said, “My head is tired so why don’t we give it a rest until tomorrow. I for one will wait for judgment day about Mr. Claus.”
When they all woke up the next day, it was snowing like crazy. Andy rushed out the door and nearly fell head first into the thick snow that lay on the ground. When he stopped and looked down, the snow was up to his knees!
He turned around and made his way back into the house. He said, “Now that is what we call a bunch of snow. How are we supposed to get around if this continues to accumulate?”
“Let’s wait until somebody walks by and see what we have to do to get around. I for one want to hang around town and see what people do,” said Joey.
“Good idea,” said Dad. “Look, there goes a wagon with two big horses pulling a sleigh wagon. I see it has some bags filled with what I have no idea. I think it comes from the feed store. That’s where you want to go, Joey and Andi. Mother and I are connecting with home and want to know what the meteor is doing.”
When Father, after the kids left, tried to contact their home planet, there was not any response to their hails. They feared the worst and later when word filtered down from somewhere, the planet no longer existed. Apparently, some escaped and some did not make it to safety. It would be a long time before all the facts were known. Meanwhile, they had to make do with this planet. This was their new home. Both parents wondered how they would fit in with the indigenous culture. Both decided to not tell the kids anything for the time being.
Joey and Andi had made it to the sidewalk trudging through the heavy snow. Once at the sidewalk, the snow was not as deep. And at the same time, Sunflower came walking down the sidewalk with these funny looking things on her feet. She said, “Here are two pairs of snow shoes for you guys to walk in. It makes walking in snow very easy. I’ll help you put them on.”
“I don’t know what to say. I hope we can learn to use them. I saw you walking very well, but we have no idea what they are. Nothing in our history speaks of this tool for walking. Our planet has controlled weather. Snow isn’t part of the weather back home. Many thanks, Sunflower. By the way, this is my sister, Andi.”
“Very nice to meet you, Andi. Now let’s see how you handle your new shoes.” They took off slowly and had to learn to keep their feet apart more than normal, but in no time they were walking well. The closer they got to town, the more activity was happening. Church bells were heard, choirs were practicing singing, stable workers were brushing horses for the upcoming hay rides, and shop keepers put up new discounts for presents as this was the last shopping day until Christmas.
All that was seen by the off- worlders appeared almost magical. People had on colorful clothing contrasting the white snow piled everywhere. Bells on animals were a nice sound to keep pace with walking. Little kids were throwing snowballs at each other. Old folks watched with envy wishing they were young again.
Sunflower said, “Let’s go get some warm cider to drink. It’s very tasty and fresh this last fall. I like it with cinnamon. Follow me. It’s just around the corner next to the book store.”
Walking through the cut glass windows in the door, hearing the bells jiggling their arrival, Andi and Joey saw small round tables in Christmas colors of green and red. Sunflower told them to sit down and she would get their snacks. Andi and Joey sat down and gazed around seeing the place rather full and with a long line to the counter for take outs.
“This atmosphere feels warm and tingly. All of the people here seem so happy and are really enjoying the holiday season. You know I remember seeing old videos of shopping malls and giant department stores with people rushing in and fighting over a special price on something they probably really don’t need. Also, people would line up for hours to be first through the doors on what they called: ‘Black Friday’. I understand now why it’s named that way: people die and you take your life in your hands making your former bodies all black and blue. Human’s were so silly back then.”
“We saw the same thing in our studies of history. Our economics teacher said: “You can go broke saving money.” That makes sense in a weird way, but foolish people do foolish things. Oh here comes Sunflower with our drinks.”
“Wow! This taste great! I’m addicted to them already,” said Joey.
“We only have them for two weeks at Christmas time. It’s special for us. We don’t consume a lot of sugar as it’s not good for us. We only produce enough refined sugar for our holiday season. Beginning January, you won’t find any more sugar laden products.”
“Except fruit, I’d guess,” said Andi. “It has natural sugar and is sweet tasting in its own right.”
“Yup, sure is. But for now we indulge with special treats during the festive season,” said Sunflower.
“When you buy presents, where and to whom you buy for,” asked Andi.
“I shop at all the stores looking around. I don’t have much money so I buy mostly little things a person can use in their daily lives. We usually buy for our families, but if we have close friends, we sometimes buy a gift for them. It’s left up to the person. None of us have much money so we are a little bit frugal. As to the where we buy our presents, there’re many stores or shops we can go to. My two favorite stores are the variety store and the book store.”
“Thanks for your clearly spoken answers,” said Andi. “We, and I’m a little ashamed to say, we don’t celebrate Christmas with gift giving. I’m also ashamed to say we have a fake or simulated holiday season. We can produce an environment that looks like winter landscape, but the smells and the feeling of the surrounding area is missing. Here one can feel the cold air, the squishing of feet upon the snow and we can smell the clean air of the evergreen trees wafting by our noses.”
“We are a simple people living a simple life. Sure we have the emotions of our ancestors, but we’ve learned how to control them. We aren’t jealous, for example, if our neighbor buy a new TV set. None of us have a TV to be jealous of. I suppose the only time one might feel jealousy is if another person is more popular or of a personality that makes others feel happy.”
“What you’re describing is an utopian society. Most of us, who have studied humans and other civilizations over the centuries, came to the conclusion that utopia doesn’t exist.”
“I think, Andi and Joey, the word utopia is misconstrued to mean a place is happy, sharing, and all the other adjectives used in a dictionary. We certainly don’t think this is a utopian society. We have our bad days along with good ones. We toil hard to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We give thanks to whatever spirit that helps provide our daily living. We rarely get sick. Disease has been pretty much disappeared from our language.”
“This is all amazing and I’d now love to browse the book store,” said Joey.
Both Andi and Joey’s heads were spinning from the conversation prior to the bookstore. The one thing that troubled both of them the most was the idea of work. On their home planet, any physical work done was with robots and computers. Work here was still undiscovered and left both wondering what it really meant.
At the bookstore, the place was packed with customers. There were authors that Sunflower said were of this planet and few books were available about history of other planets. She said, “Any history of old Earth, is oral and handed down by our elders. We hear the good parts and the bad parts. We pass those same words on to our off spring.”
Fiction was about half of the store’s inventory. Mostly it surrounded life of the old days and settings around nature. There weren’t any books on crime, magic, or of any violence or intrigue. The non-fiction books were colorful and interesting. Seldom was there just one author, but multiple authors of a single book.
Joey asked, “As we don’t know the value of any item on your planet, can you relate of give us an idea as to how long you might work to make enough money to purchase a book?”
"Well, I'll try, but remember we don't have a standard rate for any particular job. About 80% of us are farmers. We go to school for ten years. Those that show exceptional promise can study with an elder in that field or area of interest. We have laboratories that involve soil, plants and weather experiments."
“Andi is an expert on our planet involving soils and such things,” said Joey proudly.
‘‘That wonderful. If while you’re here, I’ll take you to our soil laboratory.”
“Can we walk around some of the stores and see what’s inside,” asked Joey.
“Let’s go to the variety store. They don’t have real expensive things, but a lot of handmade stuff.”
Like the small shop of drinks and the bookstore, the door bells jangled upon entry. There was some soft music playing, but it was hard to place for either Joey or his sister. The place was busy with customers shopping for Christmas. The store smelled wonderful from the many candles burning.
“It’s best for you to just walk around and see what the entire different items one can use in their lives. Like I said, most all are homemade from local artisans. I failed to mention that we’ve trade schools where students can learn how to do multiple things that are needed on a farm or anywhere, for that matter.”
“Thanks Sunflower. I’ll raise my arm if I need some help determining what is what. Mostly I’ll just examine how something is made,” said Joey moving off by himself to check the place out.
Andi went with Sunflower. Sunflower said, “I ordered some new napkins for our holiday dinner. I want to see if the lady who made them has finished with the order.” They walked to the counter where a thirty something woman was checking the customers out. In a short time, the clerk asked how can she be of service.
Sunflower told her what she had ordered and away the clerk went to the back room. She came back with a cloth bag containing handmade napkins. Andi thought them very pretty and after being shown the wonderful stitching, exclaimed her amazement. “We have many different seamstresses who produce all kinds of clothing. One of my best friends lives on a sheep farm where the wool comes from. We also have cotton fields, but not here as it’s too cold for that plant to thrive well.”
Joey had browsed the store looking at different eating utensils and tools. Sets of forks, knives and spoons in silver with engraving for decoration. They were all amazing and well made. Farm tools, and above the tools a sign read: ‘If you can’t find what you need, just tell me and it’s a done deal.’
Sunflower and Andi took her napkins to another counter where gift wrapping was taking place. The paper was plain colored and rough, but tied together with colored yarn gave the present some character. Andi asked, “I thought people had to pay for things on this planet. They gave us some gold to exchange for currency, but I don’t see any prices and not much money being handed over to the clerk.”
Sunflower laughed and said, “Sometimes, we trade things for other things. In this case, Ms. Violet will accept some wool from my family for these napkins and other things we might need.”
Joey came up and said, “This place is really complex with all works of metal, wood, and glass as if artists made them.”
“Yes, we thing so too. I have to go now, but I’ll be by your house at 4 pm to pick you up for our hay ride or sleigh ride. Have fun looking around. Bye for now.”
Both kids decided to go home and see what their parents were doing. The snow kept falling and after struggling with the snow shoes, made their way home.
When they arrived, both mother and father were sitting at a table talking. Joey noticed their long faces and said, “What’s wrong. Please tell us that the asteroid didn’t penetrate the shield?”
Father looked at his kids and shook his head. “Our planet was destroyed children. We have to live here for we don’t know how long. I know our Overseers made provisions for this type of calamity, but how to make contact is another matter entirely.”
Andi said, while sitting down at the table made of some strange wood, “This place is not bad at all. I think we can adjust to living here.”
Father said, “What can we do here to occupy our time. I know we can work without rest and with our precision movements, could fabricate or maybe even teach some technology to the population. I don’t know what kind of government they have here. If we stay, we need to talk to the leaders of this planet.”
Andi said, rather maturely for her age, “Let’s wait until after the holidays here and then we can see what is what.”
Mother said, “Good idea, Andi. I think it might be a good idea to visit some of our own people to see what they have to say about our home being gone.”
Joey’s father was the de facto leader of his people on this planet. He really did not wield a lot of power, but when a meeting such as this was upcoming; he would head the gathering and keep the arguments on course.
Such was the get together later that afternoon. The meeting only included Father’s social level and his ranking in government. There were ten other members present and to keep it simple, they all decided to not do anything rash, but to see what developed after Christmas.
The snow had stopped and the air turned colder. It was close to hay ride time and Sunflower was at Joey’s house telling all what would transpire on this ride. There would be lots of blankets to keep warm and hot cider to drink. Singing Christmas carols would take place as they roamed the country side stopping at a few houses along the way. At around 11 pm, she said, “We stop in town and wait for Santa to give us a sign he’s on the way. Our people have decided to wait in the town’s square with you so you can see Santa Claus for yourselves. Okay, let’s go as I hear the bells jingling on our horses coming.”
It would be hard for any off worlders to explain how they felt riding in a hay wagon on a white Christmas Eve. Joey said, in one word: “Wonderful”. Andi said, “Exhilarating. Father said, “One of a kind”. Mother said, “Peace on earth, good will towards men.”
The long train of wagons made a large circle throughout the countryside. They stopped at homes along the way to give their blessing with songs of giving and friendship. The entire trip took about two hours with the stops. When they came back to town, all went to a large church to warm up and drink more cider. Joey hated to stop because on the trip, Sunflower sat next to him. About half way through the trip, she took his hand under the blankets. Even though his artificial skin or exoskeleton was of the latest design, he could only feel a slight warmth from her touch. However, Joey fell in love that night.
During the time spent at the church, choirs of both school age children and adults sang songs of old. At other times, afterwards, citizens spent the time talking to others and others meeting the new comers.
Suddenly it went quiet and a leading townsperson spoke from the pulpit. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen and our new friends, I’ve just heard some great news. Santa is on his way and will soon land here in our town square. This is special as he wants to welcome our new residents. He also said he was running a little late so be patient. We’ll all go out in about thirty minutes. We need to make room for his sleigh and reindeer.”
Joey and Andi were beside themselves with excitement. Especially Joey. Unexpectedly, right in front of Sunflower and her friends, he did a back flip of great proportions. The locals all gasped at his prowess. Joey felt ashamed and lowered his head in shame. Sunflower came up to him and took his hand saying, “That was really wonderful, Joey. It was just so unexpected is all. It’s obvious you have some special abilities we don’t have.”
“I’m sorry Sunflower. Compared to you and your civilization, we are very strong and agile. I wasn’t showing off, but was thrilled to hear that Santa is coming to town.”
“Never mind. We all know you are kind and gentle. It just takes some time to adjust to you and you to adjust to us. I know there is a meeting planned to show you and your folks some ideas of permanent life here on Terra. We’ve lots of land our people are happy to show you how to make use of that land. I’m happy to have you here,” she said moving closer and pressing against his side.
“Look! There he is. I can see the red nose of Rudolf and the blinking lights of his sleigh at about a half mile from here.”
The crowd gave off pleasant sounds of happiness. Joey, Andi and all the other off worlders stood head tilted back, mouth open not believing their eyes about the mythical Santa Claus was circling for a landing in this small town on a planet light years away from Old Earth.
Later Joey described the event in detail to his diary. His first glimpse of Santa came as just when he softly landed in the town’s square. He was the spitting image of what he had read and saw from ancient history: Short, rotund, a white beard and hair. His clothing of red, white and black boots authenticated his appearance. He stood up in his sleigh and said: “Merry Christmas everybody. A special hello to the new citizens of my favorite planet, Alpha. I thought it a good idea to stop by and give my faithful reindeer a rest. The children can pet my team and don’t be scared when raise my arms to deliver your presents.”
Santa raised both arms straight up and then outward. It was when his arms went out, that a flash of electricity shot forth blinding all of the area in a pure white light. It made all close their eyes. Joey had no idea how long it lasted, but soon all returned to normal. Santa said, “I’ve got to go now. I’m a busy guy as you well know. The universe is not as big as you thought. I may be a figment of your imagination or I might be as real as you can see, smell, touch and hear. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”