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Frequent correspondent Carl Grandberg of Pepperell writes this about the following missive:

Dear Editor,

I am sending you a copy of a letter I received from Santa two years ago regarding my inquiry into Rudolph’s health. At first, the letter was a shock to me but, as the story has a happy ending, I feel it might be time to share it with your readers.

Carl Grandberg (now wintering in sunny Florida)

Dear Carl,

I received your letter and Christmas wish list. As you have always been a faithful believer in me, I am replying in my own hand. Please excuse my handwriting as years of chimney soot has blurred by vision.

Your wish list is a short one this year so I am certain you will find everything under the tree Christmas morning. Except, that is, for that one item, you old coot; shame on you! That item is available only online at an adults-only website!

Regarding your inquiry into Rudolph’s heath, yes, the rumors are true and it has been a well-kept secret until now. Due to advancing dementia and loss of his navigating skills, I was forced to retire old Rudolph and hire a replacement lead reindeer for the gift deliveries last year. Feel free to share this breaking news with your co-workers at the Pepperell Braiding Company’s Christmas party this year.

Rudolph’s health is otherwise good and he has fallen in love, and spends a lot of time in the barn with my new lead reindeer. By now you may have guessed, my new lead reindeer is a lady! How about that, girls? Score one for Women’s Lib!

Apparently there is nothing wrong with Rudolph’s eyesight as Dolly, is her name, and she is a real good looker. Part Norwegian, part Italian, blue eyes, blonde hair, olive skin, a powdered red nose, and a beautiful snow white tail. And the rack on that girl — 10-point antlers on both sides of her head!

The gift deliveries went well last year with Dolly leading the sleigh. That is, until the last leg of the trip. It seems that Dolly likes to indulge in some of the international beverages offered around the world during the holiday season. What with vodka in Russia, wine in Italy, rum in South America, tequila in Mexico and the new craft beer i the U.S., Dolly became a bit tipsy. We got lost for a while and arrived late at our last stop in Winnasnotcot, Canada.

Rather than land and be seen by the children without Rudolph in the lead, we decided to make a low altitude, flyby gift drop. With some bubble wrap from the larger packages and some titanium parachute cord made by the Pepperell Braiding Company, we were able to jettison all the gifts overboard.

What a sight it was to see all those pretty packages attached to transparent parachutes, glimmering in early morning sunshine, floating down upon the little town of Winnasnotcot!

The whole town lit up, every house, every window, every tree, even the big one in the town square. All the children running out of all the houses, dressed only in their pajamas, their little angelic faces looking skyward in wonderment as hundreds of Christmas packages fell on lawns, shrubs, trees and rooftops.

And the noise! What a commotion it was!

Mothers screaming “come back here!” Dogs barking, roosters crowing, church bells ringing and sirens blowing as the fire, police and rescue teams all went on full alert thinking it was some kind of terrorist attack.

The children were all running about, snatching gifts from mid-air, pushing, grabbing, shoving, fighting! How quickly they turned from nice little angels to naughty little combatants gathering up the Christmas contraband!

But God bless them all! And with a ho, ho, ho! And a Merry Christmas to all and with Dolly in the lead, we passed the eggnog around and headed for home and a long winter’s nap, singing “Jingle Bells” all the way!

Merry Christmas,

Santa

Carl Grandberg writes occasional columns for the Nashoba Valley Voice.

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