(Start at the beginning)

Noel’s Christmas – Sunday, December 19th


Nick and Noel stood in line alongside the train, waiting to board.  Noel was bouncing up-n-down slightly, partially from her excitement but primarily because it was bitter cold outside. 

At noon, it suddenly became very windy outside, the weather channel having predicted this as the local climate event of the day.  It was said that these winds were traveling down from the Arctic Circle.  And this gave Nick an idea when he heard it.  Telling Noel that the winds of the day were also bringing Santa Claus down for a visit, he called the local train station and bought two tickets for the Polar Express ride that evening.

And now at 7pm, they were ready to board that Polar Express train ride … if they didn’t freeze first!

Noel hated nylons.  She despised them with a passion, but the only other alternative she could think of to keep her legs warm was to wear pants.  And there was no way she was going to do that.  So, she dolled herself up in a cute little pink dress and begrudgingly, put on white nylons.  But her outfit really didn’t matter as she wore a coat that covered her dress completely.  And, since the train wasn’t heated on the inside, she wouldn’t be taking her coat off when they were aboard – not even unzipping it.

But even chilled to the bone, from head to toe … except for her diapered bottom, Noel was all abuzz that Santa Claus himself would be accompanying them on the ride!

The train’s locomotive looked huge to Noel, made of black steel and having a very masculine draw to it that appealed to her.  There were only three cars that were attached to it, making it seem like such a gargantuan locomotive really wasn’t necessary.  But it was all about presentation and everyone was super excited when Santa Claus himself walked down the steps out of the first car.

He addressed the waiting crowd with his usual greeting and then welcomed them aboard.  No one dallied.  They all got on the train quickly, if for no other reason than to get out of the bitter winds.  Everyone found their seats and though there was no heat on the train, things were about to get toasty.  No sooner did the train start moving than a dozen or so waiter came out dressed as elves!

And they had …. hot cocoa!

Oh, yes.  Now this was gonna be really good!  Nick and Noel each got a cup of hot cocoa, Nick simply holding his until she was done with hers as he knew she would be drinking both of them … as usual.

The entire ride was only a 30-minute round trip.  So there was no time to waste.  Once all were settled in and the train was up to full speed, Santa Claus got on a microphone and began the entertainment.

“Ho, ho, ho!  Hello and Merry Christmas!” Santa said with a big belly that jiggle when he laughed.  “I have a few questions for you all, if you don’t mind me asking them.”

The crowd agreed, enthusiastically.

“Okay,” Santa said, looking down at a piece of paper in his hand.  “Don’t worry.  This isn’t the naughty and nice list.”

Everyone laughed.  Santa was indeed a corny jokester, as all were about to find out.

“Alright, then,” Santa said, holding the paper up and reading from it.  “What do you say to a new neighbor at the North Pole?”

He then looked out at the crowd, everyone shaking their heads that they didn’t know.

“It’s ice to meet you!” Santa exclaimed, the crowd groaning but then applauding.

Nick closed his eyes and shook his head.  This was going to be painful.  However, Noel was enjoying herself and it seemed she was looking forward to more corny jokes from Santa.

“How did the two North Pole scientists know they were meant for each other?”  Santa asked, chuckling to himself before he read the answer.  “It was love at frost sight!”

Nick buried his face in his hands.  But Noel squealed with laughter, then taking another big swig of her hot cocoa. In fact, quite a few people laughed.

“What was the scarf doing at the North Pole?” Santa asked, then pausing a really long time before answering – making people wait for it.  “…….. hanging around.”

This time, there was a noticeable pop of laughter, Santa beginning to win over the crowd.  The jokes were so ridiculous, Nick had to smile.  But corny or not, the jokes were making for a great time.  And that was the point.

And Santa still wasn’t done.

“How does the North Pole weatherman usually end a weather report?” Santa asked, then getting right to the answer this time.  “And snow on and snow forth…”

And this time, the crowd paused in silence for a moment – then understanding the play on words.

“What do they serve for breakfast at the North Pole?” Santa asked with a big grin.  “Snowflakes!”

And that one got a round of applause.  It seemed the jokes were getting better.  Noel had laughed so much that her throat had run dry, encouraging her to keep chugging the hot cocoa.

The jokes would continue until they hit the halfway point, then turning the train around at a track exchange near the shipyard three towns away and heading back to the station.  Noel started in on the second cup of hot cocoa but wouldn’t finish it before the train ride ended because the trip back included the singing of every Christmas song they could sing inside of the remaining 15 minutes.

But as they got off the train, heading to their car, Noel looked back at the front of the locomotive.  She would forever remember this day, the day she took a ride on the North Pole Express.

Continue on to Monday, December 20th

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