Sitting up in a rainstorm waiting for my husband to get home from his late shift, two nights before Christmas, three days after this rain started…
Two nights before Christmas, when all through the land, rainstorms were pounding; it was getting out of hand. Umbrellas were propped beside the front door, dripping all over Mom’s Christmas-cleaned floor. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while wind howled outside and rain pounded overhead. And mamma in her Wellies and I in my cap, were bringing in the dogs from one final lap.
Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, we ran to the window to see what was the matter. There at the window we saw a bright flash, and tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. We had no Christmas snow, but there were quite a few puddles, and there we found eight reindeer in a soggy, tired huddle.
“Why are you here?” I asked a sopping old elf, who stood with a sleigh and shook rain off himself.
“Trial run,” he said sadly, “but we didn’t count on the storm. Now we’re trapped in your back yard and can’t get into flying form.”
For a moment we stared and didn’t know what to do, and then my so-clever wife suggested the canoe. Nick laughed in that moment, his eyes—how they twinkled. His dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry. His red hat and gloves, they dripped with the rain, and water ran down his beard like it headed down a drain.
“I’ll be back for this,” he called as he unhitched the sleigh and hitched up the deer to the boat the same way. “If you worry about your neighbors, you’ve got nothing to fear. By morning you won’t even know I was here.”
He sprang to the canoe and gave his team a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim as he hit the dark mist, “Kentucky in the winter—I will never get the gist.”