It was mid-morning when Santa called Jessie to the door. He had a list longer than his arm and was examining it in detail.
“Let’s go for a ride, Jessie. I have a few Christmas gifts that I have to buy down in Southern Ontario.”
Jessie looked at Santa curiously. Since Santa created all of his own toys what could he possibly be purchasing.
Santa smiled. But did not elaborate further. He led the way to the plane and Jessie happily bounced aboard. She loved the plane with its gorgeous views of the clouds, and most of the snacks Santa’s attendance served during the flight. Today it was bread pudding with caramel sauce, and Jessie devoured the bowl when it was given to her. When she looked up she had a sticky face and everyone laughed.
The plane did not land on an airfield but landed on a farmer’s field. It was close to a large number of greenhouses situated far from the city. Jessie looked at Santa and waved her tail.
“I don’t have a green thumb Jessie. No matter how hard I try I cannot grow Poinsettias. I can grow Orchids, Holly, Christmas cactus and other many magical plants, but for some reason I always kill Poinsettias. I like to give them to my colleagues to spread some Christmas cheer so I come down south every year and buy a plane full of plantsto take back to the North Pole. Will you help me pick out the colours?
Jessie pounded her tail on the frozen dirt and the group began walking. It wasn’t long before they had entered the entrance of the building and were talking to the greenhouse’s owner. “Welcome, Santa and Molly. Who’s your friend?’ said Carole.
“This is Jessie. She’s my new companion. I wanted her to see the magic of your Poinsettia display. I do have to say you do a beautiful job of displaying the plants each year. Of course, I’m here to pick up my shipment as well,” replied Santa.
“Welcome, Jessie. Do you like kittens?”
Jessie wagged her tail furiously and stood up straight. She liked kittens. She even liked grown cats when they behaved themselves.
“There’s a lone kitten that hasn’t been adopted this Christmas. It’s by the tree. As long as your very careful, you can play with it while Santa and I do our business,” said Carole.
Jessie trotted over to the kitten. It was sleeping but she could see by its size that it was old enough to play. Jessie gently nudged it with her nose. The cat stretched and yawned before slowly extracting its limbs from the cat bed. It pawed at Jessie’s nose and then jumped backwards and ran to the edge of the cashier’s till. It took one giant leap and landed in front of Jessie. The cat licked Jessie and then zoomed under the tables all he way to the end of the building and back again.
Jessie trotted forward after the cat but soon lost interest in following it. As she looked around she was mesmerized by all the white, pink, red and burgundy poinsettias. There were even some blue poinsettias that had been spray painted blue. She had never seen anything like it. The whole room was full with vibrant colour. There were trees, Christmas cactuses and glittering mini-lights all around her. There was even a train under the tree that Jessie stopped to watch steam around the track.
The place was full of magic and Jessie thought that it made sense that Santa would choose this location to buy his plants.
Having lost interest in the kitten Jessie wandered back to where Santa, Molly, and Carole were sitting having a hot cider and going over Santa’s order. Jessie nudged Santa and Santa leaned down to pet her.
“So how do you like the greenhouse Jesse?”
“Jessie’s yip turned into a howl when the kitten took a flying leap and landed on her back. It’s fine needle claws spread out across her back.
Jessie turned round and round trying to get the kitten to let go of her skin. She began snapping at her back.
“Jessie, no,” cried Molly.
Jessie stopped moving, put her head down and sat on the ground looking dejected. Her back felt like it was being skewered.
Molly quickly came forward and extracted the kitten from Jessie and began petting it.
“Why, this is a beautiful animal. Why was it not adopted out Carole?”
“It’s too rambunctious for most people. I’ve had more trouble with that cat. It turns over pots, and digs into the dirt. I frankly don’t know what to do with the animal. You wouldn’t be interested in another pet would you Molly?” Carole smiled and watched as Molly gently petted the tiny creature’s coat.
“Why, of course Carole. We’ll give him a home. I think I’ll call him Charlie. What do you think Jessie? How would you like a new friend?”
Jessie wagged her tail timidly. She liked cats but somehow she knew that Charlie was going to get her into trouble.
“That’s settled then. Charlie comes with us. Come Jessie, our plants have been loaded onto the plane. Time to go home.” Santa rubbed the dogs fur and looked into her eyes. Somehow, Jessie knew that Santa thought Charlie was going to be a handful too.
Santa bent down and whispered in Jessie’s ear. “We’ll stick together Jessie. It will be all right.”
Jessie wagged her tail with more vigour. She trotted to the plane and boarded with Chris and Molly. She didn’t like having the cat coming with them but she could learn to live with it. As long as she lived with the Clauses she’d be happy no matter what happened and maybe Charlie would become her first feline friend.