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Santa’s wild ride

It’s that time of year again, the jolly old St. Nick has been mulling over his list for at least a week now figuring out who has been naughty, and who has been nice. He’s been in contact with every government in the world getting his flight permits and plans all in place so he can make that midnight run delivering Christmas cheer far and wide. All the while he has been thinking of a Christmas long ago when he had to enlist the help of a few cowboys to keep his delivery schedule on track.

This story takes place several years back, in a place where cowboys were kings, though their palace was merely a line shack. Two cowhands had just thrown some fresh hay to their cavvy, they were tucked away in the barn and ready to ride out gathering strays at first light. It was Christmas Eve on this remote cow camp, the two men who called this place home were huddled around an old iron stove and a leaky coffee pot. They swapped stories of ponies they had rode, outfits that had paid their wages, and of renegade steers that had learned manners at the end of the rope.

About 8 o clock it began to snow, and shortly after 10 the wind really started to blow. The men threw another log on the stove and pulled their bedrolls a little tighter, this drafty cabin let almost as much snow in as it kept out. As the men laid in their beds and drifted off to sleep, high in the sky above them trouble was about to make an appearance.



Santa Claus was driving his team of reindeer like they were Wells Fargo horses late with the payroll. He was behind schedule and doing his best to make up time. Each rooftop he landed on the sleigh would slide to a stop as Santa was diving down the chimney to make his delivery. He’d scramble back onto the roof and jump in the sleigh, slapping the reins and hollering “Up, up, and away!” He was making good time when he flew into cow country, and was hit with a blizzard bad enough the poor old boy couldn’t see. He only had a half a dozen houses left before he would be done for the night. As he set the team down on the ranch house rooftop, he saw Dasher snort and heard the harness pop.

Dasher was known to be a renegade, a deer green broke to the harness at best, so when he found freedom he was gone in a flash. Though Santa tried he couldn’t catch him in time, and he knew without his eighth reindeer and the snow piling up fast he would never make his deliveries with daylight coming up fast. As he flew from the ranch house he saw smoke from the small line shack, he made a quick landing hoping the cowboys inside could help his situation.



The two hands were saddled as fast as could be, they knew it was up to them to save Christmas for the youngsters on the neighboring ranches. They tracked Dasher through the trees to an open hay meadow, then shook out their loops to catch this elusive sleigh motor. Their mounts were ready when Dasher made his dash, and though he tried he couldn’t duck the hoolihan throw of the older cowhand. The younger man rode in quick and stacked up dallies with 2 feet stretched tight. Dasher learned manners quick in cowboy fashion that night.

The boys got Santa on his way about an hour before sunlight. Santa thinks of that night often and smiles when he looks at Dasher, cause just before those boys turned him loose, they heated up the irons and branded an S bar C on the left side of his reindeer caboose.

This year when you look up in the sky on Christmas Eve keep an eye out for renegade reindeer that needed some cowboy manners sessions. Hug your loved ones and remember that a baby in a manger is the true reason for this season. That’s all for this time, keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire and God Bless.


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