The Christmas Apprentice



“Oh, hello Christmas.  Long time no see.”   I crawled out of my lounge chair to give him a hug.  I was not really surprised to see my old friend.  He had never failed in his visits, always bringing a word of comfort and friendly greetings. “I’ll get us a couple of hot buttered rums.  Was looking for an excuse to have one anyway.”



“Oh, delicious idea.  It’s not been so long, though.  Only a year, remember?  I came to see you a week before Christmas last year, but I’m running behind schedule this season.  We have only three days before the big day this year.  How have you been feeling, my dear?


“Oh, all right for my age, I guess.  I was 75 in August, you know.  The arthritis makes it hard to get around as much as I’d like, but the pacemaker is keeping me going.  Do you want to know about my new support hose?  I am disappointed in their quality, considering their price.  I think the only thing they support is the bank account of the department store where I bought them.”

Laughing, Christmas said, “I always look forward to my visits with you.  Instead of asking for things, you always find a way to make me laugh.  But I look in your face and I see that you are tired, my dear.  I know that look because I am tired, too.”



“Seventy-five years of being obnoxious will make anyone tired, you silly old goat!  But how can you be tired?  You are a spirit!  The Spirit of Christmas can’t get tired!”

“Oh, but we can, and I am.  I want very much to retire.”

Long silence.  “I am astonished!  Christmas retires?  What about all the little children?  What about all the people of the world who believe in you?”

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Christmas laughs again, his jolly voice booming in the small apartment.  “Surely you don’t think I am the only Spirit of Christmas?  There are many!  Can you really think just one person, uh, spirit, can do this enormous job?  The Santa/toys thing is just the tip of the iceberg, and people have made it so commercial, it has lost most of its meaning.  The real job is 365 days a year of providing comfort and cheer, and sometimes relief, to everyone.  That part of the job is still rewarding, but the sadness and pain one sees eventually wears the spirit out.  I have been serving humanity for only 580 years, but I have become…What is the phrase?…Oh, yes…Burned out.  There seems to be a significant amount of rum in this hot buttered.”

“You don’t just appear at Christmas?”

“Not at all, but it is the most difficult time of the year. People get so emotional, especially when I have to take someone away.”

“Take someone away?  As in death?  Don’t tell me you are the Spirit of Death!”  Long pause.  “Are you here tonight to take me away?”

“Now, don’t be upset with your old friend, my dear.  In fact, I have a job opening for you – A very good job with benefits you can’t even imagine.  I need your help.  I am asking you to come with me and be my assistant for a year.  I will show you the ropes, and after a year, you will be the Spirit of Christmas.”

“No.  No.  I don’t want to die.  I’m not ready.  I won’t come with you.”

“Look at your television screen for a minute, dear.  I want to show you where you will be in six months if you don’t come with me now.”  He patted her arm consolingly.

She couldn’t help but look.  Was this some kind of crazy You Tube trick he was pulling on her?  But, no.  There she was, sitting in a wheelchair, alone in a bleak room, eating something from a tray, but spilling most of it down her front.  She could barely see, and her body ached from head to toe.  She felt herself wet her pants.  “Oh, my God!”


“You see?  We need each other.  I have chosen you to be my assistant for a number of reasons.  You have a sense of humor that will see you through the most difficult times.  You are basically kind and compassionate, and have honest, down-to-earth common sense.  You are somewhat irreverent, in the sense that you are not impressed at all by wealth or fame, and you know how to tell difficult people where they can go when they are wasting your time.”

I gazed at my old friend Christmas, partly in wonder, partly in horror, and with a generous portion of curiosity.  “Then, in fact, I would be Death.  I used to watch all those old movies, Death Takes a Holiday, that Twilight Zone one where Robert Redford posed as a policeman.  And the Meet Joe Black movie – it’s almost like this.  And the ghost stories.  All the ghost stories.  Am I dreaming a ghost story right now?”

He shook his head and smiled.  “You’re going to be just fine, you know.  You’re with me. Now go brush your teeth and get into your bed.  You won’t need to take your pain medication or your sleep medication tonight.  I’ve got you.”  He smiled and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

“Can I call my daughter?”

“No, but I’ll be extra gentle with her.  It’s better this way.”

I shuffled away towards the bathroom.  The pain ruling every step was gradually turning into a pleasant floating sensation.

He looked at his hot buttered rum, which had gone cold.  “Merry Christmas,” he whispered.


All is well.  Good night and Merry Christmas from Sweet Nan.








The Reincarnation of America

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We can do it, you know.  We can have our America back bigger and better.   Here’s how it will be under the simple, but grand Reincarnation of America.


We will have abundant renewable energy, so most of us will end up with autos that will run on our choice of fuels.  The cost of heating oil to heat homes and cooling systems to cool will no longer be expensive.  We can be comfortable all year round at a small cost.  Grocery and food items will be more plentiful, inexpensive and healthy.  We will import less food from other countries and use more of our own safe, clean food.

Everyone who wants a job will have a job.  Everyone who wants a nice home or apartment will be able to afford a nice place to live.  Travel in America will be the best experience in the world, and we can all enjoy all the new wonders in every section of the country.

Recently we have had severe flooding in some areas, and long term drought in others. There are actually small towns that literally have no water.  None!  Their wells, rivers, and lakes have dried up.  Other small towns have simply disappeared after seasonal rains caused people to lose their homes and their hope.  Think Katrina, Sandy.

The answer is Waterscaping.



The solution is so simple.  The states will share the resources equally.  No more of this “California is taking all of Arizona’s water.”  Water will be a national resource, not owned by a particular state.  Under this plan, electricity will also be a national resource.  No one state can say, “It’s all mine, you can’t have any.”

We will build a network of canals and rivers covering the entire country.  The canals and rivers will have dams which will produce electricity.  The waterscape will not only be productive, it will be beautiful.  We can have river walks, parks, all types of recreation facilities along the banks of our waterways consisting of everything from mighty rivers, lakes, smaller “feeder” canals to huge dams and waterfalls.


Who is going to build it?  Americans!  We will need scientists, engineers, construction workers, secretaries, clerks, medical personnel, wildlife experts, landscapers, gardeners, road builders, planners, cooks, educators, public relations people, real estate experts, fish and game people, porta-potty providers, temporary housing people, people who can dig with a  shovel, and people who can dig with an enormous earth mover, child care providers and family helpers for those families whose adults are working on the canal project.

Who’s going to pay all these people?  The American Government.    No more “bridges to Nowhere” so a politician can make a money grab so he can get votes. The money is going to jump right out of dishonest pockets and into coffers that will rebuild America’s infrastructure..

With waterscaping, if Atlanta has too much rain, it will be routed into a main waterway.  The water will enter a connective unit, making stops at dams along the way to product electricity.  The water may be placed in lakes or other reservoirs along its journey.  It can be put where it is needed.

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Deserts will bloom, farmlands will prosper, and there will be no more draughts in the Midwest or California.  The dried up lakes will be refreshed, and there will  be new lakes.  Trees will grow, and wildlife will have plenty of food and water.  Aqua-farming will become a new industry, one of many that will develop as time goes on.

While you are vacationing in Florida, your car is being transported to a ski resort in the Colorado Rockies.  You can fly or use a bullet train to Aspen to meet your car and continue your vacation.


Along the waterways, we can build roads and train tracks to accommodate all type of shipping, and all products will cost less because of reduced shipping costs.  The parks and river walks all along the circuit will make travel inexpensive and fun for American families.  Tourists and visitors will come from all over the world to enjoy out new complex.  They can go from water sports to snow skiing with a day’s time.

Drawbacks?  Yes, of course.  Security problems are the worst I can think of.  But we already have those, don’t we.  Obviously, I am not an engineer, but I don’t know of anything that could stop this plan unless it is just the same old political greed.

People are going to laugh at me for dreaming up this simple, yet complicated and elaborate plan.  It will take one little step at a time, some open-minded and courageous people, and a long, long, long time.

Maybe we won’t see much progress in our lifetimes, but lets do it for the children.


Made you think, didn’t I?  Bye from Sweet NanLogo Combo