—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

541 773-3373

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On Santa’s Sixteenth Day of Christmas, he finally got to go to Scotland and he was very happy about that, because his taylor elves had designed him a brand new Santa suit. However, his happiness about getting to go to Glasgow at last was tempered with the memory of yesterday and how he’d so badly judged the surfer girl.

She’d been beyond redemption and that was the way she wanted it. She’d fooled Santa Claus and that’s not easy. He was going to have to be on his guard.

And it was because of her that he left for his sleigh without wearing a smile.

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He told Rudy to take his time and he fell right into a deep and disturbed sleep as soon as they hit the sky. He’d been sinking into a black pit in a dark dream, like the ones in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, which had sucked in the dinosaurs, when his Santa sense woke him with a start.

“Down, Rudy!” he shouted. “Down, down, down!

And like a screaming comet, Rudy led the team into a nose dive, picking up speed as he went and in seconds he saw what Santa sensed and they leveled off over a speeding train. He slowed to twice the train’s speed, passing it and dropping the sleigh to inches above the tracks.

“To the right!” Santa shouted and Rudy guided the sleigh to the right side of the track as he slowed down to under the train’s speed.

“It’s going to be close,” Santa thought talked to the lead reindeer, as he leaned out of the right side of the sleigh. “A little slower,” he thought talked and Rudy slowed the team and now they were in danger of the train coming up on their rear and that would be the end of Santa and his reindeer.

“Slower,” Santa said and Rudy slowed the team even more and the train got closer.

“Slower,” he said again and the train blew its horn and Santa head the screech of the train’s brakes, but it wouldn’t be able to stop in time. It was going to be close.

“Slower,” he said still again and Rudy obeyed as Santa stretched himself out of the sleigh and scooped up the child who was sitting in the middle of the tracks.

“Go, go, go!” he shouted, but Rudy didn’t need Santa telling him to get on outta there, he’d already poured on the speed and they zapped away from the train with about a half a second to spare.

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Since He knew were all the children in the world live, he didn’t have to ask little Imelda. And that was a good thing, because she could neither hear, nor speak.

He gave Rudy directions and the team leader brought the reindeer close to Imelda’s home. And once they came to a stop, close to her door, Santa thought called the Big Guy. “I might need your help.”

“You don’t,” God thought back. “But I’m glad you asked. It’s a good thing you’re going to do.”

“I know I can’t fix them all. But I can fix this one.”

“You can.”

Santa covered her ears with his huge hands and held her tightly for a few seconds as he willed her to have hearing and speech.

“Oh my,” the girl said, sounding just like any surprised five year old child would. Then she said, “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome,” Santa said, then he scooped her into his arms and made his way to her front door, where he knocked, not too loud, but not too softly either.

A worried looking couple answered.

“Oh, thank God you found her. We were so worried,” Imelda’s father said.

“Are you alright, darling,” Imelda’s mother said.

“I’m all better, Mummy.” She giggled. “Santa fixed me.”

Imelda’s parents looked at Santa in awe and maybe a little fear, because they were adults and had forgotten how to believe. So they were a little afraid of something they didn’t understand.

“Sometimes miracles happen.” Santa smiled. “And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my long life, it’s never to question a miracle.”

“Put me down, put me down,” Imelda said. “I wanna get you a Christmas present.”

“That’s not the ways it’s supposed to work.” Santa laughed. “I’m the one who’s supposed to give the presents.”

“But I wanna give you one,” she said. So he set her down and she ran into the house, returning less than a minute later. “My dog had puppies and this is my favorite one. I want you to have her.” She handed the dog to Santa. “Her name is Snowball.”

“Maybe Santa doesn’t want a puppy,” Imelda’s mother said. She was starting to believe.

“I would love a puppy,” he said. “I often bring back animals to the North Pole.” He beamed at her. “Mrs. Claus loves them all.”

“You really are him, aren’t you?” her mother said.

“I really am.” He grinned wide. Turned to Imelda’s father. “All of this is much easier to accept and understand if you believe.”

“Oh, I’m getting there.”

“Good.” Santa held out his hand and Imelda’s father shook it. Then he hugged her mother and kissed Imelda goodbye and left for his sleigh with Snowball in his arms.

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Under normal circumstances, Santa would have left the dog in the care of Rudy and Crew and they’d’ve taken care of him till he returned and Mrs. C would wind up with another animal to love. But these weren’t ordinary circumstances. He sensed he still had a job to do and that Snowball would be a big help.

But first, he thought he’d go walkabout, as they say in Australia. So with Snowball under one arm and his bagpipes under the other, he set off. And, yes, I said bagpipes. Santa is in Scotland, after all.

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Santa, like a camel, can go a very long time without water, but sweets, that’s a horse of a different color. Mrs. Claus had him on a diet, but every now and then, he slipped. He was, after all, the roly, poly, jolly guy and sometimes he needed a cupcake to keep him that way.

So he found a sweetshop and he went in, carrying Snowball, the bagpipes and his sack of toys.

“Nice doggy, Santa,” a girl about to chomp down on a cupcake said.

“And what would you like for Christmas,” Santa said.

“A healthy baby girl.”

“She’ll be born on Christmas Day. She’ll be healthy and she’ll grow to be wise. She’ll never cause you grief and you’ll be proud of her till the day you die.”


“I’m Santa Claus. I never lie.”

“Here.” She handed him her cup cake. “You shouldn’t have to wait in line. Besides, I’m gonna go and tell my husband we’re gonna have a Christmas baby.” She got up from the table, scratched Snowball between the ears, kissed Santa on the cheek, then hurried out the door.

“I’m so happy some big people believe,” he told the puppy, then he left too.

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Santa had a pub in mind, but he couldn’t go till well after dark, so he continued his walkabout and when darkness fell, he enjoyed all the Christmas lights, because when it came to Christmas lights, he was in awe as much as any child.

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When he saw a ferris wheel all light up for Christmas, Santa’s heart was fill with joy. Christmas, there is just nothing like it.
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And finally it was time for him to make his way to Glasgow’s Temple Bar. The original was in Dublin and he planned on being there tomorrow. He’d never been to Glasgow’s, but there was a girl in there whose life was in tatters and if he didn’t intervene, she was going to take it from herself, before the night was through.

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At the doorway, he opened it just a bit, then he bent over and pushed Snowball inside and the puppy let out a little bark and ran on in and Santa, laughing, followed.

The bar did a good business and there were two on duty. A young man named Sam and a girl in a pirate costume, named Rosanne. Santa went straight to Rosanne, whispered into her ear. “A little girl gave me the puppy. Her name’s Snowball and I’m too old to care for her.” Not quite a lie, a little fib, he told himself, but for a good cause.

“You mean,” Rosanne said, “I can have her?”

“She needs somebody to love her”

“I could do that.”

“Then she’ll love you back like you’ve never been loved before. That is, till you meet the man you’re supposed to marry. Which, if I had to guess, is going to happen very soon. Or,” he winked, “Maybe you’ve already met him and just don’t know it.”

Rosanne jumped up, sat on the bar, studied the puppy on the side of the bar. She crooked her finger. “Come here, Snowball.”

Snowball barked, but she didn’t come.

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“Tell her she can come home with your and you’re going to take care of her forever and ever,” Santa whispered.

And Rosanne crooked her finger again and said what Santa told her to say and Snowball ran toward her and Rosanne jumped down from the bar and Snowball jumped into her arms.

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“This calls for a drink.” Sam said. “What’ll you have, Santa?”

“I think I’ll let you decide,” Sam,” Santa said. And Sam made the drink, without asking Santa how he knew his name.

It wasn’t a Corona, but Santa quite approved of the drink and after he finished it, he thanked Sam, then said. “You should ask her out tonight. Maybe take her to the pet store tomorrow, buy something for Snowball. She’d like that.”

“You think?”

“I’m Santa Claus and I know stuff.” He held out his hand and Sam shook it. Then he left, knowing that Sam and Rosanne would have a long and happy marriage and that Snowball was going to have a fine home and that Snowball made Rosanne so happy that all of her depressing, stupid suicide thoughts were gone from her head and would never come back.

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He visited a few more pubs in his Scottish Santa suit and enjoyed all the compliments he got. He loved Christmas and everything about it and he wished the night would never end, especially since it started snowing, because he loved snow.

But all things end, especially day and nights, so he headed home at sunrise.

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Again, he was asleep and dreaming as soon as his sleigh hit sky. This time it was a happy dream about the winter of 1999, when he and Mrs. C toured Scotland on a bus. They went everywhere, acting like they were newlyweds. Actually, he smiled in his sleep, they’d been acting like newlyweds for a couple thousand years or so.

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