August 10, 2010

Norbert revisited

I want to thank everyone who has responded with donations for the family I wrote about in the last couple of posts. Every bit of help they get will allow them to, well.. as Matt-Man so eloquently put it...

"I know that no matter what any of us do, it will not help Boo and her family to ever get over this event, but anything we do “in the meantime”, will absolutely help them to get through this event."

Blogger extraordinaire Dana has added a link to her blog that sends you directly to a paypal donation page to make it easier for everyone to contribute. If you don't have paypal, just email me at and I will send it on to her...

As I was sitting in front of this screen thinking about her situation and everything she's been through I found myself drawn to her words...

So, in the spirit of her writing and her gift for making everything much louder and more chaotic than it needs to be, I decided to post one of my favorite stories she wrote....


Norbert came down from the North Pole to bring our family Santa's favorite little Christmas tree. Mrs. Clause had covered every available surface in their house with trees, and so there was no room left for Santa's favorite little tree and it made him sad. He wanted this little tree to be warm and covered in all the glittering finery the other elves had draped across his brethren. Norbert was Santa's personal assistant, and so it fell to him to take the tree and bring it down a southerly way, looking for the perfect home to grace. Given the fact that it's only three weeks to Christmas, it's quite clear how important this mission was to Santa. To send such an important member of the Elf Corps as his very own personal assistant could only mean that it was of the utmost, vital importancy to maintain the perfectly balanced nature of Holiday Cheer Santa so carefully cultivated each year.

Santa trusted Norbert so implicitly he didn't bother to lay out a game plan. He just told him, "Norbert, I trust you to get this tree to the right family." So Norbert set out, the tree strapped into a specially designed carrier on his back, standing tall and proud, seemingly towering over the little elf's head. Norbert felt impressive and was practically bubbling over in his pride. He pulled out his trusty Candy Cane walking stick, and started the hike. One might worry that with the minute stature of one such as Norbert a trip like that, entirely on foot, would take years. Santa is smarter than that however, and when each elf entered the Corps they went through basic training. It was a grueling and rigorous process of magical obstacle courses designed to hone the elves into a lean, mean holiday machine. Not every elf was cut out for the Corps, and Norbert's parents had worried that he didn't have the stamina to make it.

Santa had taken special interest in Norbert, seeing something in the bookish little elf that no one else did. He took Norbert aside and taught him all sorts of special tricks the other elves were not privilege to. Thanks to the extra things Santa had taught him; Norbert was able to graduate from basic training at the top of his class, taking special honors for Magical Aptitude and Stamina. He almost felt as though Santa had groomed him for this mission from the start. That was a silly thought, though. Santa couldn't possibly have known about the little tree when Norbert was but a wee elf lad... could he? It didn't matter anyway. Santa had entrusted the tree to Norbert's care, and he intended to make the Old Man proud. It had been many years since an elf had stood out in special services, and Norbert wanted to wake the old tradition and bring a new sense of passion to the rest of the elves.

What with all the pain and strife in the world, with so many turning aside from the joy of the season, with the relentless progression of modern commercialism the elves had started to feel a little obsolete. Kids didn't want the traditional wonders of Christmas anymore, they wanted electronic gadgets and top of the line gizmos. Many of the younger elves had taken an interest in technology, and there were whole labs at the North Pole now working to keep pace with the giant entertainment companies. Norbert wanted something more for the future of the elves, though. He knew Santa wanted to preserve the roots of Christmas Giving, and not just for nostalgic reasons. He needed to world to appreciate what he did, or he would lose his purpose and begin to fade away, like so many other magical creatures and constructs before him. Somehow, Norbert felt that accomplishing this mission would be the first step. The thing that opened the other elves eyes and restored their passion for creation. The North Pole was in for a shake up, and it was going to be magnificent.

In a matter of moments Norbert felt a pull to the left. It jerked his stride involuntarily, and he turned to gaze in the direction of the pull. When he was in this state, the world almost looked like a huge geological survey map, overlaid with a regular street map. He'd seen similar things on the computer, as Santa ran Google Earth simulations constantly to prepare his mind for his annual flight. What he saw was a giant red arrow, pointing down on a little black dot labeled Portland, Oregon. This then, must be where he needed to take the tree. He headed toward the dot, and fell back into the regular realm of transport and movement.

He looked around, and found himself standing in front of a little house with a hand lettered sign on the fence. Christmas Trees, $10.00 and up the sign read. Norbert looked around, and saw a few little scraggly trees leaned up against the fence, and some fuller ones in racks on the lawn. Another hand lettered sign announced that the ones against the fence were the $10.00 trees. Norbert rearranged them a little, and leaned the special tree up between them. He snuck around the corner of the house, and waited to see what would happen.

After just a few minutes Norbert spied a blue SUV coming up the street. It seemed to glisten in the sunlight, and Norbert knew it was the family he had been looking for. His eyes widened in shock then when the SUV drove right on by, and he started to panic momentarily until the he noticed the vehicle making a U-turn up the block and heading back. A smallish woman, a tallish man, and a little girl - cute as the cutest pixie child at the Pole! - clamored out of the truck and began to look around. The smallish woman grinned a gigantic goofy grin, danced up to the fence, and plucked up Santa's tree with a giggle.

"This one right here. This is our tree. I told you guys, I don't pick the tree the tree picks me." She snorted when she got to the end of the sentence, which sent her into peals of more exuberant laughter. The tallish man chuckled at her absurdity, and turned to the door to knock and pay for the tree. The young lady who answered the door looked confused, but smiled and took the money anyway. Satisfied with the transaction the smallish woman and the tallish man posed for the little girl to snap a photograph of them with their tree. They loaded it up into the back of the SUV, laughing and grinning the whole time, before driving off back the way they had come. The whole thing took less than 5 minutes from beginning to end, and Norbert knew he had succeeded in his mission.

There was no doubt that the right family had found the tree, and Norbert simply winked himself home. Later that night, he and Santa looked in on the little tree. Santa could not stop chuckling, and by the end of their voyeuristic visit the tears were streaming down his face, his rotund belly shaking and jiggling with uncontrolled mirth. "Norbert, my lad I knew I could count on you. A tree that fine should always be surrounded with such noise and laughter. The boisterousness of children and the clamoring of loving parents milling about in a chaotic milieu of Christmas Cheer. I think you just might be due for a promotion." As usual, Santa's eyes twinkled when he spoke.

"Yes, Norbert my lad, you've done quite well. Merry Christmas, son. Merry Christmas, indeed."

- Boo

I hope you guys enjoyed that as much as I did...

Hang in there midget, we are all pulling for you....

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