Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Flight Before Christmas



Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us.  Are you a thriver or a surviver?  I like to complain about Christmas craziness as much as the next person, but truth be told, I love this season of joyful chaos: the twinkling lights, the holiday music that drives my husband crazy, my children's effervescence, spending time with family and friends, and the foundation of love and generosity that underlies it all.

Oh, and did I mention the 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest, sponsored by Susanna Leonard Hill?  Now there's some jolly good fun to ring in the season!  The rules: write a children's story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster (a la Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer).  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words.

Be sure to stop by Susanna's blog, Something for Everyone in the World of Children's Books, to peruse all of the entries.  After finalists have been selected, voting will take place starting December 16th, and winners announced on Thursday, December 19th.

I hope you enjoy reading my (330 word) entry as much as I enjoyed writing it!

 
THE FLIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

‘Twas a week before Christmas and all was not well.
While out on a test flight, the sleigh hit a swell.
An icy cold blast took St. Nick by surprise
and sent him careening through blustery skies.
Tossed this-a-way, that-a-way, capsized, upended,
a thought flashed before him as Santa descended:
What good are warm boots and a snazzy red suit,
if what you don’t have is a good parachute?

He called to his reindeer (though none were in sight),
“Come Dasher! Come Dancer!  Be swift in your flight!
Come Prancer and Vixen!  Come Comet and Cupid!”
But none of them came, and poor Santa felt stupid.
Through clouds of whipped cream, he kerplopped like a cherry;
his jolly demeanor, now somewhat less merry.
With huge, booming voice he exclaimed,
"HO HO HO!
 READY OR NOT…
 LOOK OUT BELOW!”




Unaware, until then, of the ill-fated flight,
the elves all looked up with their jaws dropped in fright.
Could it be?  Yes, it was!  Old St. Nick in free fall!
Those quick-witted elves wasted no time at all.
They worked as a team, without missing a beat,
to pile up snow, oh, at least fifty feet.

Would Santa Claus notice with everything white?
He needed a map he could read from great height.
So the elves in their hats of bright red and bright green
encircled the mound to make sure it was seen—
the red hats on one side, the green on the other.
At first they formed one word, and then came another:
the reds on the left side spelled L-A-N-D;
on the right were the green hats with H-E-R-E.

While Santa still dropped like a streak through the sky,
he saw this and gave a most gratified sigh.
He aimed, best he could, for the elves’ snowy mound
that cushioned his fall when, at last, he hit ground.
Nothing came close to the love Santa felt…
with a smile he said, “Guess I need a seat belt.”

© 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.

Poetry Friday friends, there's more fun to be had just around the bend!  Please join our round-up host, Tabatha Yeatts, at The Opposite of Indifference.


80 comments:

  1. The elves' plan was brilliant! And so is the idea that Santa needs a seatbelt and parachute. LOL! Nicely done.

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    1. Thanks Teresa! These days I believe Santa's sleigh comes equipped with both. ;)

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  2. The revisions are great, Michelle. It's a fun story. Hooray for the Elves!

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    1. Thanks Barbara-- you all always help me out so much!

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  3. Nicely done, Michelle. Happy Holidays! - Donna Sadd :0)

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  4. Ha, ha! That's awesome! Great story. I love it! Well done!!!

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    1. I think we all could benefit from some quick-witted elves in our lives! Thanks so much, Marcie.

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  5. You have just made my day, Michelle! That was wonderful! = )

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    1. And you, mine, with such a heartfelt comment. Thanks Becky! :)

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  6. Excellent Michelle, laughs all the way through, and the excitement of the mishap kept me going too. You didn't ever let up!

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    1. Thank you, Linda-- I'm so pleased you enjoyed the ride!

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    1. I'm always amazed what can be found on the Internet if you type in just the right key words! Thanks for your comment, Christine.

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  8. Delightful rhythm, delicious diction -- you're so witty, here at Today's Little Ditty! I love the concept, which you executed flawlessly. You get my vote! Keep us posted on the competition, and good luck!

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    1. And if you offer a class in creative commenting I'll be the first to sign up. :) Well done, yourself, Keri! Thanks for your encouragement... and your vote, should I be so lucky to be a finalist!

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  9. BRAVO!! Standing ovation.

    Santa became a skydiver - without a chute! LOL Well done.

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    1. My goodness, Cathy, thank you for the high praise. It means a lot coming from you!

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  10. Lovely! Those clever elves certainly averted disaster!

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    1. Yes... I wonder if I can hire a few in their "off" season? Thanks for stopping by, Yvonne.

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    1. Thanks so much, Buffy-- did you enter this time around? I don't recall seeing an entry for you yet. I hope you will!

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  12. Michelle, this is just wonderful! Good luck in the contest!

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    1. Thanks Liana! I look forward to reading something from you in one of Susanna's future contests. :)

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  13. Hi Michelle- wow that is freaky we both had similar ideas with different endings! Loved the elves coming to the rescue and I love the rhyme! I also enjoy writing poetry, and enjoyed your story. Very fun!

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    1. Thanks Karen-- happy to be your freaky mishap twin!

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  14. Hilarious! I love the solution. Clever elves.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Linda. Power to the elves!

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  15. Good for the elves! Love the 'punch line' too!

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    1. Safety first! Thanks for stopping by, Juliana. :)

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  16. Poor Santa, but all's well that ends well, and this one ended on such a positive note!

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    1. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without ending on a positive note! Happy holidays. :)

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  17. "Through clouds of whipped cream, he kerplopped like a cherry;
    his jolly demeanor, now somewhat less merry." -- ha! You are a wonderfully merry writer, Michelle! :-)

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    1. Merrily, I thank you, Tabatha! But honestly, it's really not all that difficult when kerplopping is involved. ;)

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  18. Oh, that was fun, Michelle! I especially loved these lines:
    What good are warm boots and a snazzy red suit,
    if what you don’t have is a good parachute?

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    1. Thank you, Tara! As I understand it, his new snazzy red suit has a parachute built right in. ;)

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  19. I was on the edge of my seat all the way. Awesome poem!!

    P.S. Loved the whipped cream and cherry references. :)

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    1. Maybe if you're especially good (and bake him lots of cookies), Santa will take you for a spin, Jama-- then you can REALLY be on the edge of your seat!

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  20. Fabulous, Michelle! Great story, great rhyme! The elves were very quick-witted indeed! I love that not only did they build the landing site, they labeled it to be sure Santa hit it just right :) Thanks so much for a very entertaining story and for joining in the holiday contest fun! :)

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    1. I don't know, Susanna, I think it's your contests-- they bring out the best in me. :) So glad you enjoyed my story!

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  21. Michelle, this poem is hysterical. Just the idea of Santa taking a test flight. Thanks for spreading the holiday joy.

    P.S. I was a winner in Susanna's last contest and my prize was an awesome writing craft e-book. I recommend everyone give the holiday contest a try!

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    1. I'm glad I could make you laugh, Laura. :) That's the great thing about holiday joy, right? There's plenty to go around. And I agree, Susanna's contests are awesome!

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  22. So well written. Your rhyme was really wonderful and your story is completely entertaining. Nice entry!

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    1. Thanks so much, Penny! Hopefully some agent or editor will think so too. ;)

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  23. Well done, Michelle! I can tell you are gifted in verse. A fun and clever holiday story.

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    1. You're sweet for saying so, Jarm. Thanks a bunch for stopping by and commenting!

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  24. Too fun! Thanks for sharing, Michelle, and I'm adding three cheers for those clever elves, too.

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  25. VERY fun!! Huzzah for you, the elves and Santa!!

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    1. Thanks Mary Lee. :) The next round of egg nog's on me!

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  26. Love this, Michelle! Such a clever idea and fully of great imagery. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Catherine! I appreciate your kind words.

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  27. Hahaha, what a fantastical idea and a super de duper way to execute your idea. I loved reading this. SO much fun!

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    1. And thank YOU for leaving such a super de duper comment, Robyn! It's much appreciated. :)

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  28. Who would have thought a seat belt and parachute were what Santa needed! So cleverly done. thank you.

    Merry Christmas! :)

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    1. You would think with such clever elves, one of them might have thought of a seat belt and parachute ahead of time. Live and learn. Thanks for stopping by, Clar!

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  29. What clever elves! Great stry, and good luck to you!

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  30. What fun. And what a great job you did with the rhythm! No parachutes needed.

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    1. Well thank you, Doraine! I do love to keep my fingers and feet tapping.

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  31. Nice to meet you, Michelle! Well done...I love the images of the elves, scurrying around to pile of the snow and Santa making an emergency landing.:)

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    1. Likewise, Vivian! May we all be so lucky to have elves (or angels) looking out for us when we fall. Thanks for dropping in to leave a comment!

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  32. Hi Michelle, your story and rhyme are wonderful. Nice ro meet you. :-)

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  33. Fabulous story. I loved the red and green hats.

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  34. Who DOESN'T need a parachute?! ;) Great story! :)

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    1. Couldn't agree more, Erik! Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

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  35. LOL. I envisioned Santa tumbling like a cat! Glad he has clever elves. :)

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    1. LOL. Haven't seen too many cats tumble, but I'll take your word for it! Thanks, Wendy. :)

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  36. This is great, Michelle! The story in rhyme is wonderful, and I laughed out loud at the last line. Nice job!

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    1. Thanks, Cheryl. I'm delighted my story could tickle your funny bone!

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