Dec. 30th – Jessie Meets Jack Frost

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.

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Dec. 29th – Jessie listens to Christmas Carols

Jessie jumped on the paper strewn across the floor. She loved the sound of crinkly Christmas paper under her nails. She moved her paws back and forth shredding the paper into little pieces. When the paper was shredded into confetti sized bits she climbed up on her couch and stretched her long legs.

Jessie was bored and was trying to entertain herself. Molly’s mother, sister, and her sister’s son were visiting.  Since Santa was visiting with the group Jessie was confined to the house and had been left to entertain herself.  Jessie was used to her daily adventures with Santa and Jessie was tired of amusing herself. Jessie picked up her stuffed bunny and threw it on the floor in front of Santa’s feet.  Continue reading Dec. 29th – Jessie listens to Christmas Carols

Dec.28th – Jessie meets Trader Mike

Molly shrieked. The man had thrown several furs on her clean kitchen table. “Trader Mike get your disgusting furs out of this kitchen and out of this town. You know that I can’t stand it when you bring them in here.”

Molly hacked at a cabbage she had been shredding for cabbage rolls. Her face was bright red and she murmured under her breath. Whack! She slammed the cleaver into the butcher’s block. Continue reading Dec.28th – Jessie meets Trader Mike

Dec.27th – Jessie meets Bilbo the Orangutan

Jessie was bored. Terribly bored. The facility that Santa had taken them to  was a warehouse of toys for Santa’s distribution in Ontario. At first, Jessie had been intrigued by the robots, plush dogs, and balls. But, Santa had work to do, and had left her to amuse herself for over an hour. Jessie, mindful of the catastrophe in the ribbon room at the North Pole, was determined to be good and not get into trouble. Unfortunately for a young dog there wasn’t much to do that wouldn’t get her in trouble.

Jessie decided the best way to spend her time while waiting for Santa was to sleep. She picked up a stuffed rabbit, trotted over to the lunch room, and climbed on a couch she had seen earlier. Soon, she was sleeping soundly using the rabbit as a pillow.

Jessie's rabbit

Santa finished his business later in the afternoon and came searching for the dog. He found her still sleeping on the couch. He gently shook her awake. “Come, on Jessie. You’ve been so good today I’ve arranged a treat for you. I’ve borrowed a car. We’re going on a road trip.”

Jessie stretched her long legs and delicately climbed off of the couch. She picked up the rabbit, and followed Santa out to the car where she climbed into the back seat and immediately went back to sleep using her toy as a prop.

When Jessie awoke, Santa was parked in a huge parking lot. There were hundreds of cars surrounding them. “Come on Jessie. I know you like animals so we’re going to go visit the zoo while were in town. What do you think? Are you ready to go in?”

Jessie barked in agreement and began scratching at the door trying to get out of the car. When Santa let her out he could barely keep up with her. The pair hurried to the front gates where Santa flashed a badge and they were let through the doors.

“I’ve arranged for you to meet Connie. She’s the head of animal care for the Orangutans here. She knows everything you’d ever want to know about the animals, and she’s got a surprise for you.”

Santa opened the door to the Orangutan exhibit, and led the dog through the maze of people. Near the back of the building he walked up to a nondescript door and rang a door bell. They waited for several minutes until a young blond woman opened the door. She had hazel eyes, a weathered face, and was dressed from head to toe in Khaki.

“Santa, it’s nice to see you again. Welcome! This must be Jessie. Welcome, Jessie. I’ve been telling Santa for years that he needed a companion. You’re a very lucky dog to be living with him.“ Connie closed the door and started walking towards the east side of the building.

“Santa wanted you to come and meet a very special member of our Orangutan family. His name is Bilbo and it’s his second birthday today. He’s been sick and is too weak to be with the rest of his Orangutan family right now. Santa  thought that maybe you’d like to meet him.”

Jessie barked and whined.

“That means that she’s excited to meet Bilbo,” said Chris.

Connie smiled, and slid a door open. They were in an observation area at the back of the exhibit. Bilbo sat on top of a tire playing with a banana peel. He was swatting it back and forth with a small stick. When he saw Connie come into the room he vocalized a welcome, and jumped up and down.

“Bilbo, this is Jessie. She’s come to say hello and wish you a happy birthday.” Connie said. She gently pushed Jessie forward from between her legs where she had been hiding.

Jessie sniffed the ground as she headed directly for Bilbo. She walked up to the animal and shoved her nose in his face. She licked him on his face and then sat on the back of her legs trying to get Bilbo to play.

Bilbo, reached across and pulled the dog towards her. He held the dog in his arms, and hugged her for several moments before letting her go. Bilbo got up and walked on all fours across the room to a ball. He chewed on it for a moment, and then threw it at Jessie.

Jessie retrieved the ball, and gave it to Bilbo. The pair played in a similar manner for over an hour when Santa called Jessie over to him. “It’s time to go home Jessie. You’ve made Bilbo happy today keeping him company. Say good-bye to your new friend for now. We’ll be back next month and you can visit again.”

Jessie trotted back to Bilbo. Bilbo must have sensed that she was leaving, because he grabbed the dog and hugged her tightly. He then released Jessie and walked back to the corner of the room where a bed was built for him.

Santa and Jessie left the zoo and got ready to go back to the manufacturing facility. “I’m proud of you Jessie. You stayed out of trouble today, and you made a lonely animal happy. That’s what I try to do Jessie. I try to make children happy. Making Bilbo happy was the greatest gift you could have given him, and the greatest gift you could have given me. Now, let’s go home. Molly will be waiting supper”

One dog's Chronicles of a year in Santa Claus's life

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