Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here Comes Santa Claus!

Sled dogs, Sobo and Okemo meet Santa and Mrs. Claus

Here comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus, Right Down...The Avenue at White Marsh???

Yep, that's right, last night the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures' team of sled dogs had the pleasure of taking the Man himself for a short dryland dog sled ride as we delivered good ol' Saint Nick for the eleventh annual tree lighting ceremony at The Avenue at White Marsh in White Marsh, Maryland.

"His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry"

Along the way we got to meet Santa and, of course, Mrs. Claus and a couple of elves. The sled dogs enjoyed all of the attention (once they got used to the big guy in the red suit).

As we arrived at the plaza to make our extra special delivery, a light snow (courtesy of the snow machines the good folks at The Avenue arranged) began to fall despite the unseasonably warm 55 degree temperatures.

"Reindogs" Sobo and Okemo awaiting Santa

"Where are my sugar plums?" asks Okemo

Awaiting the signal....

Away down the Avenue, we flew like a flash...

So all of this holiday cheer, prompted me to recall a little bit of Clement Clarke Moore's Christmas poem A Visit From St. Nicholas or, as we have retitled it, A Visit from St. Sobo Claws:

'Twas the night before Christmas (or November 14th), when all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The harnesses were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of St. Nick being dragged by a team of sled dogs danced in their heads.
And Eric in his Carhartts and I in my polar fleece,
had just watered the sled dogs, their stomachs at peace.

When out on the Avenue there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the dog truck to see what was the matter.
Away down the Avenue I flew like a flash,
as leashes and drop lines hit the ground with a crash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow (courtesy of the snow maker)
gave lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, through the fog,
than a dog sled and four excited sled dogs.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
"Now Zoe! Now Okemo!
Now Sobo! Now T-Bone!
On by, Acadia
To the top of Don Pablos!
On by Omaha Steaks!
Haw at Sazzios!
Betwixt Starbucks and Verizon they flew!
To the top of the wall!
Mush Away! Mush Away!
Mush away from the Mall!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to Spoiled Rotten K9 they flew,
with a dog sled full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the street
the prancing and pawing of sixteen little feet.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the Avenue St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in polyester, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flun on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger next to his head,
and giving a nod, down the Avenue he sped.

He sprang to his dog sled, to his team said hike, hike,
And away they all flew, like Lance Armstrong on a bike.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Eric, Santa, and I