- Hyacinths because they remind Jessie of the perfume that Mrs Claus wears.
- Fruit tree blossoms because the elves like to play catch with the fruit taken from the trees. Sometimes they let Jessie play and they have a game of baseball. Jessie gets to be an outfielder.
- Primroses because Jessie likes to see bright colors in the snow.
- Tulips because bees like to collect nectar from them. Jessie likes watching bees but she is careful to stay away so her nose doesn’t get stung.
- Snow Drops because she likes the sound of the name.
- Pansies because it’s a sign to Jessie that the warm weather is coming. Every year Mrs. Claus puts pots of pansies outside her kitchen window with the first gust of warm wind.
- Daffodils because Jessie likes bright things.
- Crocus because the plants name reminds her of frogs croaking in the spring. Jessie likes to listen to the peepers and watch the frogs jump and splash in the puddles.
Jessie lay on the couch and put her head on her stuffed dog. She yawned, closed her eyes and began snoring.
“I’m surprised she didn’t fall asleep in the sleigh after our adventure.” Santa rubbed his beard and reached for Molly’s hand. “It’s good to be home, Molly. Our Christmas travels tire me out every year a bit more. “
“I know you and Jessie ran into some trouble this year but you didn’t actually say what the problem was. What happened?” Molly pulled her hand away and moved to the stove. She filled two mugs with steaming hot chocolate and returned to the side chair. Molly placed the mugs on the table and stroked the sleeping dog before sitting beside her husband.
“Here’s the story It happened in the middle of the night while we were making our deliveries. We landed on the roof of a small home in Exeter, Ontario and I pulled out my sack. I had a tuba in it to be delivered to Christy James.” Santa took a sip of his cocoa and cleared his throat.
“I used my magic to start the descent through the chimney but something went wrong. The tuba got stuck half way up the chimney with me under it! I couldn’t go up or down. I tried reapplying my magic but it caused the tuba to grow bigger instead of smaller. “ Santa wiped his brow. “I didn’t know what was happening. In all my years as Santa Claus I’ve never had my magic fail me.”
Jessie stirred in her sleep and her feet began twitching as she whimpered. Santa reached down and stroked the dog gently. Jessie opened one eye and sighed before falling back asleep.
“I was wondering what to do when Jessie barked down the chimney. I called for her to stop, as I didn’t want to wake Christy, but she was frantic and just kept barking. Fortunately, the family were not light sleepers and didn’t wake. “
“ It was then that I knew I needed help. I whistled to the wind and called Silver Wynter to come and help me. Since she rules the magic of winter I knew she could get me out of the house and help me determine what had gone wrong.” Santa took another sip of his cocoa and frowned. “When Wynter arrived, she didn’t look like herself. Instead of young with crystalline features she had aged several decades. Her once silver locks were white and she had bags under her eyes. She coughed uncontrollably as she blew into the house. Since the source of my power comes from her magic I knew I was in trouble.”
“Silver’s immortal and has never been sick before. When I asked her if she was all right she answered me in a weak voice.”
“Hello, Santa. I’ve come at your request but I don’t know if I can help you. Some evil magic has made me ill. I’ve tried to determine the source but I haven’t been able to find it. All I know is that the more joy you spread this evening the sicker I have become. I feel nauseous. I need to get out in the cold.” Wynter slowly walked to the door and unbolted it. She went out into the snow and sat in a snow bank. Santa followed.
“I don’t know what is going on Santa but the closer I get to the presents the more tired I become. Did you change your toy magic at all this year?”
“No, Wynter. Nothing has changed for generations. “ Santa looked up on the roof. Jessie was tied into the sleigh and was whining. She had bumped against the toy sack and turned over the toys from the small town onto the roof. Amid the trains, dolls, balls and games something glinted in the star light. Santa frowned. “I need to investigate something, Wynter. Stay here.”
Santa walked over to the side of the house and pulled out a ladder that was leaning against the shed. He leaned it against the house and climbed up to the roof. He slid but rebalanced himself as he walked across the shingles. Santa reached the toys and began sorting through the mess. “Jessie, be quiet girl. Everything will be okay.”
Santa picked up a toy spaceship. It glimmered in the night but not like the object he had seen from the ground. He shuffled around the rooftop dodging the deer looking for the shiny object. He finally found it behind Blitzen’s hoof. Santa reached down and picked up the glowing object. He looked more closely. It was an amber amulet with inscriptions on the backside of the necklace. Santa read the inscription and turned red with anger. The amulet was designed to feed off the energy and goodwill he had generated that evening. With one of Silver’s strands of hair embedded in the amber, the inscription was a magic spell designed to destroy her.
Santa looked down at Silver below him. She had collapsed in the snow bank. He had to do something. If, he thought, he destroyed the amulet maybe it would destroy the evil magic with it. Santa placed the amulet on the roof and stomped down on it with his big, heavy boots. He stomped and stomped until there was only dust left lying on the shingles. He slipped and sat down with a thud on the edge. The soft snow that had been falling whirled in a torrent surrounding Silver in a blizzard. It lasted for a couple of minutes before the snow came to rest on the ground.
Silver sat up. Although her face was still grey the sparkle had returned to her eyes and her voice was strong and pure. “You’ve done it, Santa. You’ve saved me. Thank-you my friend.”
“It’s my pleasure, Silver. But someone wanted you gone. There was an evil talisman planted in my sleigh designed to take both of our magics away. I intend to find out who tried to destroy us. But for now I have to finish delivering the presents. Will you be all right?” Santa reached up and wiggled his ear. The presents flew up in the air and one by one flew into his magic sack. He looked down the chimney and waved his fingers sending the tuba under the tree.
“I’ll be fine. I just need to rest. I’ll help you hunt down the person that did this when I feel better. Safe journeys my friend.”
In a puff of snow Silver disappeared into the night sky leaving Santa and Jessie alone.
“Let’s go girl. We have many more stops to make before we can return home and sleep.” Santa jumped into the sleigh and steered the reindeer in the direction of the next house. For tonight he would forget about the amulet but after the holidays he would investigate.
Molly loves to bake and when she’s happy she experiments in the kitchen to come up with new ideas. Since Santa loves cheddar cheese Molly put together a bread recipe today to treat him after a long day at the manufacturing facility. The instructions are below.
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp caraway
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1 1/2 cups extra old cheddar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, seasonings and cheese in a large bowl. Mix eggs, milk and olive oil together. Add to dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated. Bake in greased loaf pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.