Posts made in December 24th, 2014

Merry Christmas!

For the past two years, I’ve been blogging exclusively about the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling. It has been immensely rewarding… and heartbreaking, horrifying, frightening, and maddening. I’ve learned a lot about the case, and I’ve learned a lot about people. Mostly though, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

The thing is, I’m a writer. And the one thing that makes me a writer is that I write. But, for two years, I’ve written nothing but blog posts and emails. I’ve barely had time to read, let alone write. So for 2015, I’ve decided to get back to the craft a bit. I’m going to dust of my copy of The Artist’s Way, buy myself a fancy new pen, and get back to my morning pages. If you have a writer on your Christmas list, I highly recommend this gift!

In the meantime, here’s a little ditty I wrote several years ago for one of my Loft classes. It’s sort of a grown-up Christmas story. Hope you enjoy it.


Illustration by Betsy Bonnema

Illustration by Betsy Bonnema

Santa’s Sunburn

Santa wasn’t feeling well,
His head and stomach hurt.
His jolly laugh became a moan
He couldn’t eat dessert.

“What’s wrong with Santa?” asked the elves.
He’s not his happy self!
Yesterday he cancelled lunch
And yelled at Master Elf!”

Mrs. Santa shook her head.
She knew the problem well.
It happened every year this time…
The month when Christmas fell.

Santa had anxiety
Too much to think about.
So many questions on his mind!
So much to figure out!

Would the toys get made on time?
Would there be enough?
Could the reindeer pull the sleigh
If weather got too rough?

“Don’t you worry, little friends
No need to tell me more.
She gave them all a little wink
And hurried out the door.

“Santa Claus!
Where are you dear?
I need to talk to you!”
She found him in the kitchen
Adding spices to the stew.

The cooks just looked at Mrs. C
And slowly rolled their eyes.
She gave them all a knowing glance—
I do apologize.

“Santa, come. Get out of there.
The cooks have work to do!”
He followed her begrudgingly
Still mad about the stew.

“Santa, what’s become of you?
You’re driving us berserk!
You micro-manage everyone!
Just let them do their work!”

Santa heaved a heavy sigh
He knew that she was right
The stress was catching up with him
‘Twas not a pretty sight.

“Now listen up,” said Mrs. Claus
“No time for explanations.
Go take a bath and pack your bags.
We’re going on vacation.”

Santa Claus just stared at her
“You’re kidding me,” he said.
“Christmas comes in just two weeks!
I need to pack the sled!”

“Oh no you’re not,” said Mrs. Claus
The work will all get done.
You’re taking me to Mazatlan
Our flight takes off at one.”

Santa knew he couldn’t win
Mrs. Claus was firm.
He took a bath and packed his bags
But couldn’t help but squirm.

“Who will handle inventory?
Who will wrap the gifts?
Who will sort and pack the toys?
Who will check the list?”

Mrs. Claus just smiled at him.
“It will get done, you know.
The elves will handle everything
You need to ‘let it go’.”

So off they went to Mexico
To bask in warmth and sun
They swam, and danced, and shopped, and ate
Everything was fun!

As one day faded to the next
Santa soon relaxed
His head and stomach pains were gone
His appetite was back.

In fact, when Mrs. Claus was gone
To do a postcard mailing
She suddenly saw Santa Claus
Fly by her parasailing!

And once when writing postcards
To her friends in Pennsylvania
She saw her husband poolside
Doing what? The Macarena!

Santa was himself again
His “Ho Ho” had returned.
With one day of vacation left.
That’s when he got sunburned.

While Mrs. Claus was packing
Santa strolled down to the beach
He laid down on a chaise lounge
And he promptly fell asleep.

He stayed like that for hours
His white skin turning pink
When he awoke at 3pm,
It hurt to even blink.

Poor Santa was a lobster
As red as red could be!
He couldn’t even wear a shirt
Or bend to touch his knee.

The plane ride home was agony
His wife just sat and chuckled
Poor Santa’s belly hurt so bad
They couldn’t keep him buckled!

When they got home on Christmas Eve,
The elves were calm and steady.
They’d packed the sleigh and hitched the team
Everything was ready.

But now when they saw Santa
They couldn’t help but stare.
He couldn’t even bend his arms!
A panic hit the air.

His face was redder than his suit
And much to their dismay,
His body was so stiff and sore
How could he drive the sleigh?

Santa gathered them up close
And gave them each a smile
“I need to tell you something
That’s been due for quite a while.”

“First of all, I’m sorry
For driving you berserk.
You made this Christmas happen!
Because of your hard work.”

“But now we have a problem
And I need your help once more.
I cannot slide down chimneys
‘Cuz my belly is too sore!”

“You’ll do the route without me
Just follow Rudolph’s lead.
Master Elf will guide the sleigh
He’ll help you if you need.”

But Master Elf was panicked.
He couldn’t go alone!
A Christmas without Santa?
He made a nervous groan.

“Now listen up,” said Santa
“I need you all to know
That Master Elf is in command
I’ve learned to ‘let it go’.”

“You don’t need me to drive the sleigh
Like every Christmas Eve.
The only thing you need from me
Is knowing I believe.”

So Master Elf stood very straight
And eased his worried frown.
“Tonight we ride for Santa Claus!
We will not let you down!”

And so the busy-ness began
The bows and boxes flew.
The elves worked hard for Master Elf
They knew just what to do.

Whenever Master Elf returned
They quickly packed the sleigh
Checked the list not once, but twice
And sent him on his way.

Santa watched them from the house
His heart was broke in two.
They didn’t need him now at all!
His sleighride days were through.

But Mrs. Claus took Santa’s hand
And looked into his eyes.
She knew what he’d been thinking
For her heart was kind and wise.

“Now Santa, lose the sour face
It’s just one year, you know.
I’m proud of you for being strong
You’ve learned to ‘let it go’.”

“Leaders cannot simply be
A bossy signal caller
For making someone else feel small
Does not make you look taller.”

“Great leaders need to plant a seed
And wait for it to grow
With time, and grace, and endless trust
They’ll reap just what they sow.”

With that she turned and left the room
And Santa went outside
He headed toward the workshop
Letting go of foolish pride.

And when he entered through the doors
The elves let out a shout
“Hooray! We did it Santa!
The presents all got out!”

They stood with faces beaming
So proud of all they’d done
And Master Elf, though tired,
Was enjoying all the fun.

“Of course you did it!” Santa said.
“I never had a doubt
‘Believing’ is what Christmastime
Is really all about.”

“So here’s to my friend Master Elf
Let’s all give him a hand!
From here on out, he’ll always be
My Second-In-Command.”

Master Elf stood up just then
With teardrops in his eyes
“Thank you for believing, sir.
It was a great surprise.”

And so, that’s how it went that year
When Santa got sunburned.
He became a greater leader
From the lesson that he’d learned.

For people will not follow
When they’re told just what to do
They must find faith within themselves
To make a leader true.

Merry Christmas!

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