By Santa’s Elf
M. N. SNow
“Merry Christmas, Grandpa Tony. Guess what? We learned a new word at school today.”
Christmas was only two weeks away and Julia loved wishing people Merry Christmas.
Julia’s grandpa put down his newspaper and smiled at his eight-year-old grand-daughter over the top of his glasses.
“What word was that, honey?” Grandpa Tony asked, after wishing Julia a Merry Christmas too.
“Cornucopia,” Julia said.
“Wow. That’s a big word. Cor-nu-co-pia. What does it mean?”
“Well, it looks like a horn-shaped basket. But it’s what it’s filled with that’s really cool.”
Julia began to recite the definition, “Cornucopia—an inexhaustible source.”
“Wow, so, it’s like a horn that’s filled with an over flowing supply of good stuff?” Grandpa Tony asked.
“Yep,” Julia said. “That’s why it’s also called a ‘horn of plenty.’ It’s like magic. You can take the good stuff out of it but it keeps filling up. It never gets empty.”
“Hmmm, that kinda reminds me of Santa Claus,” Grandpa Tony said, his hand smoothing his flowing white beard and mustache, his eyes twinkling.
“It does?” Julia asked. “How?”
` Anything about Santa Claus was sure to get her attention.
“Think about it, Julia,” Grandpa Tony said. “What does Santa have?”
“A beard and a big belly like you?”
“Yes, but that’s not it.”
“A sleigh with eight reindeers.”
“No. And it’s reindeer. Not reindeers.”
Grandpa Tony was using his “teaching” voice.
“Oh yeah, it’s reindeer, not reindeers,” she said, rolling her eyes a bit, but smiling as well. Talking with grandpa was fun.
Grandpa Tony started singing the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer song and Julia joined in, counting on her fingers as the reindeer names came up.
“Oops, Rudolph makes nine, not eight,” she said, after they had finished. “Nine reindeer,” she said. “But that’s not it either, huh?”
“No, but I’ll give you a little hint. What does Santa carry over his shoulder?”
“His bag of toys!” Julia shouted before Grandpa Tony had even finished his sentence.
“That’s right. And how many toys does Santa have in his bag?”
“I don’t know,” Julia said.
“Think about it,” he said. “Who are the toys for?”
“All the little boys and girls all over the world.”
“So how many is that?”
“Geez, I don’t know. A lot?”
“Maybe an inexhaustible supply?”
Julia clapped her hands and jumped up and down, squealing and laughing and wanting to fall over onto the couch all at the same time.
“Santa’s Magical Bag! It’s a cornucopia, a big, old, red, baggy horn of plenty.”
“That’s right,” Grandpa Tony said, reaching out with his arms for her to come sit in his lap.
Julia sat on his lap and laid her head back against his shoulder. It’s just like sitting on Santa’s lap, she thought.
“So,” Julia said, her eyes looking up and back into Grandpa Tony’s eyes, “do you think there will be anything for me in Santa’s Magical Bag this year?”
(Printed with permission. Author retains all rights and properties.)