A Calico Town, the Continuing Story of Orchard's Keep
Christmas with the Cottontail Grandparents (Christmas 2011 Special)
Christmas Eve, of course, brings magic and most joy. Santa Bear had taken on a new apprentice, Santa Cat. Full of excitement and duty, Santa Cat wanted to do a great job on his first Christmas with his mentor, but he hadn't realized now hard the job was!
"Stuck in my first chimney!" Santa Cat moaned. "This isn't at all how I wanted the night to go!"
He jumped. He shimmied. He jumped again and again, but he just couldn't seem to figure out how Santa Bear, adult and round, squeezed himself down each and every chimney in Orchard's Keep, let alone all of Sylvania!
"Maybe next year will be easier," Santa Cat sighed resting his sack against the roof of Riverside Lodge.
But the three babies didn't sleep as their grandmother quickly did. They began to whisper to each other about the gifts they hoped to get.
"I want a doll's house!" Angelica hushed with wonder.
"And a truck to push into it for me!" said Cameron in a quiet voice.
"I want a bear-in-a-box that I can use to scare Comfrey when it pops out each and every time!" said Sebastian. They all chuckled because Comfrey was so easy to scare.
"Comfrey..." Sebastian said again and they all got quiet because Comfrey had shared a plan with them earlier in the day. They wondered how it was working. They wondered if he had any luck. They wondered what story he would tell them in the morning.
Comfrey had slipped out of his blanket as cleverly and slyly as he could and climbed into his grandmother's knitting trunk. He watched his grandfather digging through the mess of the blanket looking for him and chuckled quietly to himself over and over again. Pap is so funny when he's confused, Comfrey thought. Then he mimicked his grandfather with a quiet, "Hmm." And he laughed all over again.
Comfrey heard sounds from the roof and he wondered if it could really be happening. Was Santa Bear real? He had heard his big brother Gromwell talking with his friends, Winton Lambrook, Peter Pigglywink, and Buster Slydale. They all agreed that Santa Bear was not real at all.
Comfrey wanted to tell his big brother that he had seen Santa Bear with his own two eyes. He decided that he would hide himself in his grandmother's knitting trunk and wait all night if he had to.
Comfrey watched and watched as Santa Bear kept putting more and more gifts and presents underneath the tree. He could not believe all of the gifts that there were. He wondered which was for him. He hoped it was the little white bear that seemed to look at him.
Santa Bear patted the stuffed bear on the head. "Comfrey will like you," he said with a laugh. "There is nothing that you can do to scare him!"
Comfrey's cheeks burned red, but he had to smile when Santa Bear turned to the little stool by his grandmother's rocking chair.
"A jug of milk and plate of cookies!" Santa Bear said with a fair share of jolliness. The cookies were homemade, Santa Bear could tell, and those were the ones that he best liked.
And Christopher still looked and looked through the blanket for Comfrey!
The Cottontail grandparents, Christopher and Carmen, lived in a small house called Riverside Lodge that they modestly decorated with two evergreen wreaths for the holiday. This Christmas Eve, they had made an offer to their son, Aaron, and his wife, Sorrel. Christopher and Carmen thought that it would be fun to have their four youngest grandchildren spend the night at their home.
The Cottontail babies, Cameron, Angelica, Sebastian, and Comfrey, were known around Orchard's Keep as a quartet of whirlwind trouble. They were not bad or rotten children; they were just a bit mischievous with loads of sly giggles and smirks. They were a handful!
After asking if they were sure a dozen of times, Aaron and Sorrel allowed the grandparents to tend to the children on Christmas Eve night.
No one should have worried about Carmen Cottontail tending to her grandchildren. "You three are very mild-mannered compared to your father!" she told her three oldest grandchildren babies, Angelica, Cameron, and Sebastian. Each was tucked into their special beds in the attic cove of Riverside Lodge with a stocking snugly fastened to the front of each bed.
"Good night, Gram!" each said together as if they had rehearsed it. And in fact, they had. They were not going to take any chance on Christmas Eve night! They wanted Santa Bear to think they had been good all year long.
"I hope that your grandfather is having an easy of a time with little Comfrey as I had with you three!" she said blowing three kisses, one for each. "Good night to you all, and sleep tight. I think I just may hear footsteps on the roof."
Carmen pulled back her quilt and crawled into her bed to doze off herself.
Meanwhile downstairs, Christopher was busy with, or without, Comfrey. "All right!" Christopher said all proud of himself. He had wrapped Comfrey up so well in his favorite blanket that Christopher could barely believe he had done it himself. "Into your crib you go!"
But something was wrong.
"Hmm," Christopher said unraveling the blanket this way and that. He had wrapped the blanket so well that unwrapping it was a hard task indeed.
"Hmm," Christopher said again.
And, "Hmm," he said again.
Comfrey was nowhere to be found in the blanket!
But he didn't have to wait long. Santa Bear with what must have been a lot of magic appeared from the fire furnace without even seeming like he had! Comfrey watched with wide eyes and listened with tall ears.
"A doll's house for Angelica.
"A truck to push for Cameron
"And a bear-in-the-box for Sebastian!"
Santa Bear turned the little crank and watched the bear pop out of the box. Comfrey gave a little jump as the bear popped out, but Santa Bear did not seem to notice.
Or if he did, he pretended not to notice.
Happy Christmas from all the Critters in Orchard's Keep!
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last updated: 17 December 2010