Bern's Christmas gift
(with much love)
HOW THE GIRLS SAVED CHRISTMAS
It was a dark and stormy night...well, actually, it was Christmas Eve in Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America, Planet Earth and it was dark, but not stormy—and the girls were so excited about Christmas and their cruise the day after that they knew they'd never sleep. They tried to be quiet so their parents wouldn't come into the room and tell them to go to sleep...but staying quiet when they were so excited was hard.
The girls lived on Toone Street in a townhouse across from a dog park and a soccer field in the part of Baltimore known as Canton, just off I-95, next to Fells Point and only minutes from downtown. The girls names were Emma, Morgan and Tegan. Emma and Morgan were twins, though not nearly 'identical' since Emma has her mother's black hair and Morgan has her father's brown hair and Emma is almost a head taller. They are eight years old, which is a great age because they can read and write and never have to be bored. The third girl is Tegan and she is five, also a good age, because she is learning to read and write and will, once she masters those two things, never have to be bored either. Reading and writing are like that—cures for boredom.
Plus, they all three wear glasses.
That's no surprise since their mother and father and all four of their grandparents have terrible eyes and need glasses or contact lenses to see. Being able to 'see' is genetic, though I'm not sure what that means.
But what the girls lawyer parents did not know was this: the glasses they got were magic glasses that gave the girls secret wonder powers no one knew about except the three of them and their grandmother, mother of their father (more about how she knew later.) They dared not tell their lawyer parents lest they become 'concerned'--a word the girls knew involved, in some way, intervention, like getting them new glasses that had no powers.
Here are the powers they had: Tegan could make things fly; Morgan could turn into any animal; and Emma could sing things into being and sing and make people unable to see what was in front of them to see.
They practiced their powers in private, with each other. Tegan would make their stuffed animals fly around the room. Morgan would turn into a cat or a polar bear or a lizard and the other two would play with Morgan, the animal. And Emma would sing about “she'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes” and six white horses would be in their room. Emma would take her glasses off and the horses would disappear, but it was fun for a moment or two to have six white horses in their shared bed-room.
Even the animals Morgan could turn into had glasses on, so if Tegan and Emma heard their mom or dad coming down the hall, they'd jerk the glasses off the polar bear and Morgan would be there instead.
It was hard keeping their super-powers secret because they loved to play around with them. Morgan would become a lobster and hide in the closet while Tegan made the things Emma sang into being fly around the room. Once Emma was singing “Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer,” who could fly anyway, so Tegan made Emma fly as well. The reindeer and Emma were soaring around the room when Josh, their father, opened the door. Tegan and Emma took off their glasses and Rudolph disappeared but Emma fell four feet onto the floor.
Josh seemed not to notice what had been going on (parents are really kind of dim sometimes) and all he said was, “where's Morgan?”
Emma crawled across the floor, though falling had hurt her a bit, into the closet and tore the magic glasses from the lobster's face. Morgan suddenly was back and Josh seemed confused (which is what parents are much of the time that we are kids....)
Once when Cathy, the girls' mother was with their dog, Laura, in the dog park across the street, the girls were watching from the living room window. Morgan turned herself into a Puli, like the dog her dad's parents have, and went to run with the dogs in the park. Tegan, for just a moment, because she wanted to see it happen, made all the dogs fly a little, then took off her glasses. Emma sang a little of “How much is that doggie in the window?” and all the dogs in the park were suddenly outside the living room window until she pulled her glasses off. None of the adults in the dog park noticed any of that—which is the way 'adults' are, sadly.
There were lots of other adventures the girls had with their magic powers. Like the time Tegan made her teacher fly a bit and Morgan turned into a turtle and walked around her classroom and Emma sang “Hey, diddle, diddle” and made a cat with a fiddle and a cow show up for a moment near the altar of the Episcopal Cathedral in Baltimore where they went to church. She took her glasses off really fast and no one seemed to notice but one member of the choir who left for a while to recover from what she knew was a hallucination.
But this story is about how the girls, with their oh-so-secret powers saved Christmas in 2014. So, let's go back to Christmas Eve on Toone Street, near midnight with three super-power girls who couldn't get to sleep.
What you don't know, unless I tell you, is that Santa was getting sleepy and a little sloppy by the time he got to Baltimore plus someone was trying to stop Christmas, more about that later too. Christmas Eve had started a lot earlier out over Asia and Africa and Europe. Since Baltimore is in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States all that was left in his journey to bring gifts to children was North and South America and a few islands in the Pacific Ocean. But he'd been at it for a long time for an old elf and there was another problem you'll learn later and he flew a little too low into Baltimore and his sleigh hit the winking eye man who stands for some beer just off I-95 and careened, out of control and landed on the soccer field beyond the dog park in Canton, just across from where the girls lived.
Emma, Morgan and Tegan heard the crash and ran downstairs to look out the the living room window.
“Oh no,” Morgan said, there are still people walking around, even though it is late. What if they see Santa and his sleigh? They'll call 911 and Christmas will be over.”
So Emma sang a lullaby that made anyone near the crash sight not see anything. Everything was normal for people walking by.
“We have to do something,” Morgan said, putting on her glasses and changing into a red-tailed hawk and flying out the window Emma opened to see what was going on.
Tegan made both Emma and her able to fly and they flew out the window after Morgan, the hawk, to check on the crash site.
Well, it was a mess: the sleigh was broken up and several of the reindeer were hurt and presents were all over the soccer field. Santa was unconscious. What a mess.
Emma sang, “wake up, wake up, you sleepy head” and Santa came out of his knock-out state. They checked the reindeer and it became clear than Rudolph was too injured to fly. Emma sang, “I'll be home for Christmas” while touching Rudolph and he went back to the North Pole where Mrs. Claus and the elves nursed him back to health after a few days.
“But what will I do?” Santa said to the girls, “all the presents for North and South America are scattered all over this field and I'm one reindeer short for the rest of the trip? Plus, my sleigh is broken”
“Never mind,” Emma told him, Tegan can gather the presents really quickly and Morgan can turn into a reindeer and help pull the sleigh.”
So Tegan made all the presents scattered over the soccer field fly back to Santa's bag in a jiffy. And Morgan first turned into a beaver and repaired the sleigh with mud and then turned into a reindeer and joined the other reindeers.
“Everything will be alright,” Emma told Santa.
“Don't worry,” Tegan said, “we're here to help you.”
“But there's one more thing you don't know about,” Santa told them, “their is an evil witch who is trying to ruin Christmas. I've avoided her most of the time so far, but without Rudolph and as fragile as my sleigh is now, she might have enough power to stop me right here and all the children in North and South America won't get their presents.”
The girls were suddenly confused. They were so young and yet Christmas depended on them. Morgan said, “I wish we could talk to grandma, she'd know what to do.”
Their father's mother was the only person who knew about their powers because she came into the dining room at some point over the Thanksgiving holiday and saw Bela and Laura, the two dogs, flying around. Tegan took off her glasses and both dogs hit the floor. But then, Bern, their grandma, made the girls tell about their powers. She promised never to tell anyone else, not even their grandpa, who she told everything. So Morgan turned into a rabbit and Emma sang Bobby Shaftoe into being before they both took off their glasses. Their grandma clapped and laughed at what powers her granddaughters had. And they all joined hands to swear to keep the secrete.
Santa asked, “does your grandma have a phone?”
The girls told him the number and he took out his smart phone and dialed it and Bern answered.
“Are you the grandmother of Morgan, Emma and Tegan?” he asked.
“Of course,” she said, “who are you?”
“Well, this is Santa Claus,” he told her, knowing most adults didn't believe in him anymore.
“Santa!,” Bern said, very excited, “so you are REAL!”
“Of course I'm real,” he told her, “for those who believe.”
“Oh, Santa,” Bern told him, “I believe....I believe....”
“Then you need to talk to....”, Santa said.
Emma grabbed the phone. “There's a witch whose trying to stop Christmas and Rudolph got hurt and Morgan had to fix the sleigh....”
Morgan, as Rudolph pushed her big deer head in front of Emma and said (she could talk when she turned into an animal, though her voice took on a bit of the creature she was, so she sounded much like a deer) “Grandma, should we try to stop the witch? Emma could sing her here....”
“That might work,” her grandma said, “but please, all of you be careful.”
“We will,” Emma and Morgan said together, “and Merry Christmas...tell Granpa too.”
“I will,” their grandma said, “but he's sound asleep, the phone didn't wake him up.”
So Emma sang a song about the Witch who wanted to kill Christmas and, sure enough, there she was, on the soccer field, flaming and angry and vicious. But Morgan turned from Rudolph into a T-Rex and ate the witch up, real quick.
Santa was a little nervous about the dinosaur (as were Tegan and Emma) so Morgan was back as herself.
“She's gone,” Morgan said, “now what do we do?”
“It's Christmas,” Santa said, “and we have lots of children to give presents to. Morgan, you need to be a reindeer again. Tegan, you need to help the sleigh fly. And Emma, you have to sing “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer” whenever we encounter fog or clouds so I can see. Are you girls up to that?”
They all made sure their magic glasses were firmly in place and did exactly as Santa asked. And off they went, Emma and Tegan in the sleigh, Morgan as a flying reindeer, to deliver the presents to all the girls and boys from Boston to Bogata, from Columbus to Columbia, from Chicago to Chile. From San Francisco to San Juan, from Anchorage to Argentina.
What a long night for Santa and the girls, but when all the gifts are delivered, Emma hugged Tegan and the reindeer, Morgan and sang “Home again, Home again, jiggidy, jig,” as she took the glasses off the reindeer Morgan, and the girls are all in their room again and it was 7 in the morning in Baltimore. They should have been exhausted, but saving Christmas is something that gives you a lot of energy, so when they heard their parents, Josh and Cathy, outside their room, they ran out to meet them and all five of them went up to the top floor of the townhouse to open presents.
Christmas was wonderful. They got so many great gifts and then they talked to their mother's parents, who lived in Baltimore, and their father's parents in Connecticut about how wondrous and perfect it all was. And the next day they would go on a cruise with their mom's parents. How great it was to be Morgan and Emma and Tegan!
When they talked to their Grandma Bern, she whispered to them, “how did things turn out with Santa?”
And they all told her what they had done to save Christmas and she was so proud of her three granddaughters. So proud and happy about how they had saved Christmas. And she told them each one and swore she'd never tell anyone (even their parents) about their glasses and how they gave them powers. Not ever. And she never did.
And the girls had many more adventures with their powers: Tegan making things fly; Morgan, turning into any animal; Emma, singing things into being and keeping people from seeing what was in front of them.
Many adventures they had, for years and years.
But on Christmas, 2014, after the presents from Santa were opened, Cathy, their mother, asked them what they wanted to eat for breakfast.
Tegan said, “pancakes!”
Emma said, “sausage!”
And Morgan said, “I'm not hungry at all.”
Cathy and Josh were astonished by that, but they didn't know that Morgan had eaten the Witch who wanted to destroy Christmas. She wouldn't be hungry for a few days though she'd eat to make her parents happy.
She'd do that because the three of them (besides having such wonderful powers) were the three best girls in the the world, ever....Really.