—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

541 773-3373

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For reasons he was just starting to come to terms with, Santa spent most of his wandering in December during the night. It hadn’t always been so, but over the years he’d subconsciously figured out that when people see someone dressed like Santa after dark, especially in December, they’re mostly very friendly, assuming he’s a temporary Santa, employed by the local department store or mall.

But when encountered during the light of day, a lotta folks tend to think he might be a lonely and looney old man and he was neither.

So now he was a night traveler. Besides, he chucked to himself as he looked down on ice skaters, enjoying themselves in downtown Toronto, it was far easier to hide away his transportation after dark.

He flew low and too fast for people to see over the skaters, taking them all in, in the blink of an instant. For longer than most people can remember, most thought he and his reindeer were invisible when they flew and, in away, they were, because they flew faster than the human eye could register.

How else could he visit all the children’s homes he did on Christmas Eve, if he wasn’t very, very fast. He would’ve enjoyed skating tonight, he was good at it, but he had a few good deeds to perform and he wanted a Corona and he knew of a couple pubs in Toronto that served it.

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His first stop was a barn that had been converted into a wedding venue outside the suburbs. Mandy and Mark were having their wedding reception there this evening and they were as happy as any newlyweds who’d ever said, “I do.”

But their happy cloud concealed a black lining which was going to consume their cloud of joy in three short years and ruin their lives, because Mandy was pregnant and Mark wasn’t the father.

They’d had an argument a month ago and Mark stormed out of the house and stayed away for three days, having a fling he’d never tell Mandy about with a nice girl named Mary he met at the Glassblower Pub on Ralston Street.

However, Mandy sinned too, she found solace in the arms of her old boyfriend, had too much to drink and went too far and if Mark ever found out, he’d be humiliated, because the old boyfriend was his best friend Mike, who was also his best man this very night.

And, sadly, three years from now, Mark and Mike would have a falling out and Mike would spill the beans about what had happened in Mark’s bed a month before they’d said their wedding vows. And Mike would claim the child, a boy named Morgan, as his own. And the proof, Mike would say is the lad’s blond hair, for neither Mark nor Mandy were blond and both Mike and Morgan were.

Mark wouldn’t believe him and Mandy would deny it, but Mark would secretly get a DNA test done and the truth would ruin  all their lives. Unless, of course, Santa could get God to fix it. The Big Guy didn’t like these kind of thought calls from Santa, but He had a big heart and if anybody could get Him to interfere in human affairs, Santa could.

“All I’m asking,” Santa said, is that you swap out the DNA. You know, make the kid Mark’s and not Mike’s.”

“I shouldn’t,” the Big Guy answered, “after all she shouldn’t’ve done what she did.”

“Oh spare me,” Santa said. “We’ve done a few things we don’t talk about anymore, you and me.”

“You don’t have to bring any of that up,” God said. “I was gonna do it.”

“I know you were.” And it was true, Santa knew He was going to, because he’d heard the smile in the Big Guy’s thoughts.  

“Okay, it’s done. The boy is Mike’s now.” God sighed. “Are you going to be needing me anymore this evening.”

“No.” Santa laughed. “I’ll take it from here.

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He had so wanted to talk to the newlyweds for a few minutes and to get their opinions about his new Santa suit. His tailor elves had outdone themselves. But is was not to be, because he heard Mark’s phone ringing. Mark couldn’t hear it though, because he was outside and his phone was in his jacket pocket, inside. But Santa had great hearing and not only that, he knew who it was. Mary missed him and Mary didn’t know he’d just gotten married.

She’d call back, Mandy would answer and there would go that marriage. And after the Big Guy had fixed the DNA. So, off Santa went to the It’ll Do bar on Queen Street, where Mary was crying in her beer as she was trying to get Mark on the phone.

He saw Mary as soon as he entered the It’ll Do and she was again calling Mark and this time she would’ve gotten through to Mandy, but Santa put the kaibash on that, by blocking all cellphone traffic for a two block radius. He could do that with a simple thought. Though, he could’ve just blocked her phone too. But he didn’t want to take any chances.

Ten minutes later Mary’s old boyfriend Marvin came in and he and Mary started talking and Santa knew that everything was going to be okay. Six months from now Mary would Marry Marvin and Mark would be out of her life forever.

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Santa left the It’ll Do without getting his beer, because they didn’t serve Corona and if you only allow yourself one beer an evening, you ought to be able to drink the kind you like, Santa thought so anyway. So he made his way over to the Hog’s Head Pub on Quaker Street. But when he got there the whole place was going nuts over some football game a half a world away.

All he wanted to do, was to sip his beer and have a little conversation. The Glassblower on Ralston had been his first choice, but it was all the way across town. But, considering the raucous crowd at the Hog’s Head. he decided to start walking. 

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Ralston was deserted and that pleased Santa, because that meant the pub would be quiet. But at the door he saw the place was packed with even more people than were at the Hog’s Head. And after that long walk too. But he wanted that beer and he’d waited long enough, so in he went. After all, he was a people person. He could handle a crowd.

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But when he opened that door, the place erupted with cheers.

“Great suit,” someone said.

“Wonderful suit,” another echoed.

Everybody raised a glass to him and he saw they were all full of Guinness. All of them. Every glass in the joint. And the glasses all had the beer’s name on them. A Guinness crowd. Why or how, he didn’t want to know. He decided to just go with the flow as someone handed him a Guinness.

Ah well, you can’t win them all, he thought, but just as the beer touched his lips, it turned into Corona and he knew right away who got all these people into the pub, who’d turned the glasses all into Guinness glasses and who was messing with him.

“Have a good night,” God thought.

“You too,” Santa thought back.

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He spent a half hour or so with the crowd, basking in the attention he was getting and tickled to the bone that everybody admired his suit so. And then he had to go, because he had a final stop to make before he headed on home.

It had snowed while he was in the pub, but he enjoyed walking in the snow and he set off. About a half mile into his walk, he almost got run over as he crossed the street. He had the light, but the girl behind the wheel wasn’t used to driving in the snow. She’d’ve run into anybody else, but Santa raised a finger and brought the car to a halt.

She got out of the car, “I’m so sorry,” she said.

“It’s okay,” Santa smiled, because he’d be going by her house a little later, because she and her twin daughters were his last good deed for the night. It was amazing how fate worked.

She told him that she’d just moved up from Los Angeles and was still getting used to the snow and he told her not to worry a bit. He was just fine and she was going to be fine too.

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The woman was named Gloria and one of her twin daughters had a heart defect and wasn’t expected to live much longer. Gloria’s husband, the twin’s father, had been killed by a drunk driver just a month earlier and Gloria was at her wits end. She’d moved to Toronto, because she got a promotion and she really needed the money.

So didn’t know anybody, her daughter was dying and she couldn’t drive in the snow very well. Her life was crashing in all around her.

But her little family was going to have a miracle tonight, which they’d learn all about the day after tomorrow when the doctors would be scratching their heads in wonder.

As a final touch, after he healed the girl, he decided to light the tree in Gloria’s front yard. Just a little miracle to accompany the big one.

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Flying home, Santa smiled as he looked down and saw the CP Holiday Train. It is wonderful, he thought, how the train travels across North America, raising awareness, money and food for the hungry.

“Merry Christmas,” he shouted down, even though he knew nobody below could hear. But he couldn’t help himself, because he was just so very happy.

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