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This Reindeer Can Fly
by Carl Bartlett, Jr.

What a wonderful life I have. Just one of the many things I get to do is to be Santa and ride a Harley. Yes, Santa rides a big shiny red Harley named Thunder. If that sight doesn't bring a smile to your face I don't know what will.

I visit many places and meet very special people. Thunder is always a big hit as I explain that all the other reindeer prefer the cold but Thunder likes the warmth of South Carolina.

Now you don't hear much about Thunder, but he's a little like Rudolph. You can always depend on him. This is Thunder's story .

This past Christmas I was invited to appear on a local live TV morning show. All I had to do was ride Thunder through the studio, stop, then talk to the news anchor and weather man.

We soon discovered the only way for me to get Thunder in the studio was to enter through a garage door at the back of the studio. That garage door was behind the blue screen weather map so I would have to be in the studio long before the show started.

I drove to the back of the TV station and found that this garage entrance had not been used in many years. I would have to ride Thunder up a steep dirt bank to enter through a gate at the back of the property. The dirt bank was all washed out and rutted but I thought I could make it.

My prayers were answered as the rain and sleet that were forecast for that morning never came. I was up at 3 a.m. getting dressed, and at 4 a.m. Santa was on the road. The weather was a bit chilly at 25 degrees, but I made a lot of "Believers" out of those on the interstate that morning.

I arrived at the studio about 4:30 and drove to the back of the station through a sleeping neighborhood. I was trying to be as quiet as possible but Thunder isn't very quiet. The engineers opened the gate and I could see the light of the studio through the open garage door. I soon realized that in the pitch dark this wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. I hit a few small ruts and then the BIG one.

The frame was on the ground. Thunder was stuck.

There Santa was, in a ditch and unable to move--only fifty feet from the studio, but it might as well have been five hundred miles. There was no way I was going to get this seven hundred pound reindeer out of the ditch in time.

But as we all know, sometimes Santa has special powers. There was going to be one chance and one chance only. I patted Thunder's gas tank and said, “Thunder, with your engine so bright, get Santa up this hill tonight.”

The adrenaline started to flow as I revved Thunder’s engine. I gave it full throttle and listened to the mighty roar as fire shot from the tail pipes. The front end raised up and the headlights pointed toward the pitch black sky. Like a rocket taking off from a launch pad we were free from our earthly bounds and for a moment I experienced true flight.

This reindeer can really fly.


Read more of Carl’s writing at USADEEPSOUTH:
Where Y’all From?
Beer Butt Chicken

Write Santa Carl at: cbartlettjr@sc.rr.com

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