“Ok, let’s not panic, Bumpkins! The North Pole has to be here somewhere!”
Bumpkins was talking to himself, as usual. His GPS wasn’t functioning for some reason, and he had to resort to reading , and at the thought Bumpkins sighed deeply, a paper map!
“Great, genius, you’re reading it upside down!” He turned the map right side up, and then saw the problem. He had traveled 90 miles east when he should have been going north- west! This far north, there were few road signs. That was no consolation, though, when he had to be at the Clauses’ by nine o’clock, and it was already 8:15!
There was a “meow” coming from the passenger side of Bumpkin’s car/airplane, a contraption he had invented himself. “Don’t worry, Freddy, we’ll be there soon, and then I can take you out of your carrier. And just think- we’ll be visiting Santa Claus and Felicia Claus! Santa’s sure to give you a present or two, and I hear Felicia has baked you up something delicious!” Freddy calmed down on on hearing these words, and fell asleep in his carrier.
Bumpkins wished he could be as confident as he sounded when it came to arriving “soon.” It had been flurrying all the while they’d been traveling, but it was snowing harder now, and visibility was becoming poor. He would have to switch to airplane mode. Bumpkins did just that with a flip of a couple of switches, and the car/ plane hybrid took off into the sky. The plane’s radar was working perfectly, unlike the GPS, and Bumpkins had programmed Santa’s house into it. There it was, right in the center of the screen, lit up so cheerfully for Christmas. Bumpkins was relieved to see that he wasn’t far off the mark. The house was only about 15 minutes away, true North. He’d be there in no time!
Bumpkins approached the runway with caution, and finally landed without a hitch. He taxied until he came to a stop about 75 feet from the house. There, he was greeted by Dancer, who took Bumpkins and Freddy on his back, right to the Clauses’ front door.
Bumpkins and Freddy were greeted like royalty by Santa and Felicia. They had special chairs by the fireplace just for them, and gave them the best food, and Freddy the best cat toys. Freddy, since he was a cat, soon preferred the floor to the special chair, and fell asleep by the fire. Bumpkins and the Clauses’ talked about old times, when Bumpkins was Head Elf. That was, before he retired ten years ago. They talked and laughed halfway through the night. Mr. and Mrs. Claus was so happy to see Bumpkins, and Bumpkins to see them. Freddy couldn’t be more content. Yet Bumpkins knew, deep down, something was not quite right.
First of all, Santa was speaking a little too loudly, even for him. His ho- ho- hos we’re more like ho- HO- hos. And Felicia kept folding and unfolding the napkin on her nap nervously. Finally, Santa jumped when Freddy began zooming around the room, as cats tend to do at times. Santa had never done that before. Bumpkins rustled up the courage to ask, looking both of his hosts in the eye: “Is there anything wrong? You both seem kind of nervous.” Santa hemmed and hawed for a while, and Felicia turned away. Finally, Santa answered in a soft voice.
“Well, actually, we invited you here not only for a social visit. We wanted to tell you something important. You see, Bumpkins, you’re our son.”
Bumpkins was struck speechless for quite a while. When he could speak again, all he could manage was: “Huh? But how? When?”
“Years ago, before I met Felicia, I was in love with a local girl named Annabel. We were engaged to be married, but Annabel broke it off at the last minute, saying that she had fallen for someone else. To make matters more complicated, she was pregnant with my child. You. She named you Bumpkins because she thought you were precious and special, and somehow felt “Bumpkins” conveyed that specialness like no other. When your mom married your dad, I bowed out of the picture. I felt a child should be with his mom and dad, in a real family. Years later, I was thrilled to see that you had applied for a job as elf. I could finally see my son again! I observed you move through the ranks, and you resembled me more and more as you got older. Your beard came in thick and white as mine, and, when you were promoted to Head Elf, I gave you the red and white suit that was so remindful of my own. When you retired, I was so sad because I would no longer see you every day, but I wasn’t yet ready to tell you my secret.”
Felicia, who had been silent the whole time Santa was telling his story, now came up to Bumpkins with a tray of cookies. “These are some Christmas cookies that I baked. Take as many as you want. You’ll notice, though, that there’s one blue and green cookie in the center, in the shape of a bell. If you take a bite out of that cookie, it means that you accept Santa Claus as you’re real father, and will love him with all of your heart as long as you live. “
Bumpkins didn’t know what to do. His mom, and the man he knew of as his dad, were very good to him. And Santa Claus had lied to him! Well, maybe not exactly lied, but didn’t tell him the truth, either. Santa could’ve told him years ago that he was his real father! No, Bumpkins decided not to eat any of the cookies. Well, maybe just a bite of one, because Felicia made such irresistible cookies.
“ Yum! These are… Bumpkins started to tell Felicia, then stopped, realizing he was angry with her, too. She could’ve told him Santa’s secret, too. Although, it was really up to Santa to..,
True, Santa was being unselfish in not telling him. He didn’t want to break up the family. Bumpkins went for another cookie, nearer the center. It was delicious, but he still said nothing. Then, he made up his mind. He would remain firm and not eat…
Just then, Bumpkins glanced around and saw.., Nah, it couldn’t be. Yet, it was true, dammit! There was one single tear rolling down Santa’s face. A tear in his eye, instead of a twinkle! Slowly, slowly, Bumpkins made his way to the center of the plate. And then, despite his resolve to be tough and not do so, he grabbed the cookie and took a bite!
Oh, the rejoicing that happened after that! Singing, dancing like you never saw before! Even Freddy joined in with his joyful, if off- key, meowing! There was true joy in every heart, for Christmas had begun.