Jessie curiously sniffed the air. The little man smelled strangely of old socks and dish detergent. He had ice blue eyes and a pale complexion. His hair was snow white and spiked in the middle. When he laughed he snorted through his nose and blew bubbles out of his mouth.
Jessie shook his head from side to side. She was curious. When Santa had returned from the warehouse he had stopped by the Claus house to kiss Molly, stop for Jessie and head to the man’s house. Jessie had no idea who the man was. She only knew that Santa had been very careful to ensure they weren’t seen entering his house. Not that she thought anyone would have seen them. The man lived out on top of an iceberg surrounded by water.
“Jessie, meet Jack Frost. He’s the greatest meteorologist in the business. We only use his predictions when making our flights.”
Jessie tilted her head and Santa laughed. “A meteorologist is kind of like a weather person Jessie. Jack predicts the weather around the world for us. “
“I’ve heard good things about you Jessie,” chortled Jack. His hands trembled as he reached out to shake Jessie’s paw. “Santa flatters me. I’m not the greatest meteorologist but I may be the oldest. I’m 550 years old this year. Kind of a milestone if I do say so myself. I’m just happy that Santa trusts me after all of these years to predict the weather for his trips. I’m not as sharp as I used to be.”
“That’s not true Jack,” Santa gently answered. “But I’d understand if you want a break. If anyone has deserved to retire it’s you. You’ve lead my family through generations of travels and you must be getting tired.”
“Tired, I am Chris. But I have to find the perfect person to pass my knowledge to before I can retire. There may be some good news though. My great, great, great, great, great grand-niece may have enough talent to take over. I won’t know if that’s true until after we compare our notes at the end of the January. I’d like to introduce her to you and Molly… and of course Jessie. Perhaps, we could have dinner some night this week.”
“What about next week Jack?” asked Santa. Molly is trying out a new recipe for lasagne, and she’s always happy to see you. After all, you did introduce us.”
“Thanks Santa. If it’s alright I’d like to bring Alba. Alba is Crystal’s dog. She’s a poodle. Yappy thing, but if Crystal leaves the darn thing alone in her apartment it trashes the place. Maybe he could learn some manners from Jessie here. She’s been so quiet I could barely tell she was here.” Jack chortled. He patted Jessie on the rump and leaned down to shake Jessie’s paw.
Jessie wagged her tail furiously and yipped. She didn’t know why but she liked Jack. Jack reminded her of the old woman she had lived with in Thunder Bay. Like her he seemed tired but kind.
Jessie licked Jack on the hand before returning to Santa’s side.
“We’ll be seeing you then Jack. I’ll send one of my men to pick you and Crystal up at 4 o’clock. We’ll meet your niece and catch up on old times then. Take care old friend.”
Santa motioned Jessie to follow him. They exited the house and climbed onto the sled. Santa began talking. “I wanted you to meet Jack, Jessie. He’s been invaluable as a friend and mentor to my family for years. But, I’m afraid he needs to rest soon. I’d like you to do what you can do to help us convince Crystal to take on Jack’s responsibilities for a while. If you could help with Alba we’d appreciate it. What do you say Jessie, are you up for the challenge?”
Jessie barked and licked Santa across the cheeks. She liked Jack and she wanted to help him. Tomorrow, she would do her best to charm Crystal and entertain Alba. She thought that it might even be fun.