The Night before Christmas 2020

Zen’s 6th Annual

Twas the night before Christmas,

When all across Zen, not a creature was stirring, not even in Rhey’s Den.

finely spun fiber, now yarn, hung by the wood stove with care,

In hopes that it would dry so that Ma could new woolen goodies for us to wear,

The kids were nestled all snug in their dens,

while visions of golden apples danced through their fuzzy heads,

and Ma at her wheel and I in my chair,

had just settled in dealing with WiFi that was making me swear,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter

I sprang from my chair like a frickin mad hatter,

Away towards the window I stumbled and fell,

I arose once again muttering ” Just what the hell?”

I climb to my feet to follow Ma to the door when

Yup there he was with his milk and fresh cookie smell,

Here once again my partner in crime,

That jolly old elf that makes it such a pain in my rump just trying to rhyme,

When what to my wondering eyes should appear but the glow of eyes from dozens of deer,

Our does were all crowded, waiting their turn and the fawns were leaping with moves they were trying to learn,

I look to the roof with a sigh and a groan, to see the reindeer poo drop zone,

And now walks up ole Jolly St. Nick,

annnd once again I muttered a word that rhymes with stick

He walked right past me to give Ma a hug,

That freakin Holiday Thug,

I walked back inside and slouched in my chair,

Santa sat by the fire with his holly jolly Christmas flair,

He sat and talked with Ma about her spinning and wool,

He then started laying out new fiber by the bagful,

Nick, my ole bud, then turned just my way,

He smiled and commented on how well my beard had turned grey,

I rolled my eyes and began to get snarky,

When Ma cut in, tired of my malarkey,

She handed Santa a new pair of warm gloves,

He oohed and he aahed that they were the kind that he loves ,

He leap to his feet so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment he was ready to go that Ole St. Nick,

More rapid than weasels his reindeer they came,

He whistled, I swore, and he called them by name,

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

A few does fainted as the big bucks they did fly

I saw Rhey in the shadows a twinkle in her eye

They spun round the house with effortless care

The deer they were cheering and the coyotes just stare

In came our bobcat kitty her kits at her side,

Bunnies were looking everywhere wide eyed

When suddenly all got quiet when we heard Lass swearing from her sleeping bag

I Know it is Santa and eight tiny reindeer but could you keep it down

I am all snuggled in and trying to sleep here

We all looked to each other and grin as we muttered a laugh

all the while the hummer was grumbling about holiday riffraff

The team touched down on our lawn, the toy laden sleigh came to a stop

It look like a freakin Hi Tech gift shop

fancy drones , pads and what looked like some clones

controllers, and lap tops and expensive damn phones

I asked about bikes and teddys and dolls

The elf remarked that those all went out along with baseballs

We all shook our heads at how people have changed

Things are so different and slightly deranged

He reached into his bag to pull out his old worn Fender

we head back inside , Santa and I to my office and Ma to the blender

She whipped up something warm to stave off the chill weather

while Old Nick and I once again, play some music together

Time slip by while we jam and the kids they did chatter

Ma came to join us with goodies on a platter

Time flew by as it always has and will

The evening was spinning away and we all knew the drill

Santa stood to head out the door

while I stubbed my toe and let out such a roar

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Oh Deer me

Our Girl slowly made her way through the tree, Lil Buck just behind her. Slowly, their group got larger as does and fawns grouped up to make their way to Ma’s house where they knew that soon Santa and the Dream Team would be setting down.

Our girl whispered as they walk, telling stories to the wee ones about the reindeer and Christmas eves past, all the way back to when her mama’s mama’s mama’s mama remembered talking with Prancer and Dancer; always the favorites of the troop. How they were all so dashing and strong. How they flew through the skies and how they landed on the roof without breaking the shingles… Though Da always complained, crawling up with a shovel to remove any sign they had left behind.

The deer encountered others as they peeked out of the grove, tonight all were friends and family, from Wolffie to Bunnies they all would sit and chat with Santa and his team till they all had to go. Come December 26th all would be normal once again, but.. for the next twenty-four hours and change, all was safe on Zen Mountain.

The wolf pack, holding to four, came padding in from the Northeast, while Limpy’s coyote pack came up from the South and Wraith’s coyote pack came in from the North and West.

Bobcat Kitty and her triplets dropped from branches to slip through the brush, grinning up at Our Girl as they listen to the stories, the doe smile down to the kits as she talked.

Bunnies sat on the deck, watching all that came in while Owls glided overhead to land on fence posts around the yard.

All were quiet as they listen to Da bark at whomever was this Wifi person. He must have them scared senseless because they never talked back.

They could hear Ma’s wheel spinning as she created more yarn for more clothes for her and Da.. and even sometimes she left some homespun yarn or fiber out for the kids to line nests and dens.

Even Dumbear slipped out of the woods from the West, yawning as he rubbed against trees trying to stay awake.

Stinkie padded in though she kept to herself, most of the kids liked her well enough but she did have an outrageous perfume going on.

Finally, the yard was full of the kids of Zen Mountain, large and small, patiently waiting for Santa to call.

A few of the elk, a couple large bucks lay out on the fringes, even they wanted to chat with Santa’s team and listen to stories of what all has happened since last Christmas.

As sudden as that , there was such a clatter, and in just a moment Da knew what was the matter.

Reindeer flew in and Santa jumped out, Ma‘ and Da came out the door and everything got loud.

Next they knew, the Team was unharnessed and milling about, does were sighing and fawns were leaping around.

Prancer and Dancer stood apart from the rest as they knew the does would come in to make a fuss over them while the others made their own way through the gaggle of kids.

Rhey just lay watching all the fuss, she was waiting to see what would happen when Dennis came in with his present to Lil Buck…This should be Goood.

Dennis padded in with a package swinging from his jaws. Everyone stopped for a moment to see what the young coyote was up to. He made his way right up to Lil Buck, who was listening to Dasher telling one of his stories, not even noticing the coyote until Dasher politely stopped the story to see what Dennis was up to.

” Hi Lil Buck!” Dennis muttered from around the bag.

” Hiiiiiii? You can’t chase me tonight. Not allowed. Da said so. “ Lil Buck watched Dennis, and the bag with a certain suspicion.

” Pleh! ..plehplehpleh.” Dennis coughed and spat, trying to get the fiber out of his mouth so that he could talk. ” no nononono… It’s a present for you. I picked it out myself. Mostly. Cause you run really good.”

” Ummm.. K..” Lil Buck replied as he look from Dennis, to his mom, who was staring at Dennis, then Dasher, then back to Dennis and Lil Buck, shrugged and nodded.

” It’s apples! I know you like them!” Dennis said proudly.

Lil Buck cocked his head to the side, then looked from Dennis to his mom.

Our Girl smiled, ” He means appules.”

” OHH!! YES! Appules are my favorite! Thank you Dennis!” Lil Buck exclaimed.” So does this mean you aren’t going to chase me anymore? “

Now it was Dennis’s turn to cock his head to the side. ” Oh Noooooo.. I am totally going to chase you again…Totally.”

Dasher snorted. ” Totally. “

Dennis looked up to the Big buck and nodded. ” Yup; Totally.”

Rhey huffed, disappointed. She had hoped for ..mmm.. fireworks or something…“Lame.”

Wraith saw Rhey laying off by herself, deciding to see what she was up to when he heard her huff. ” Hey Rhey. Sup? Why the long tooth? It’s Christmas Eve.”

“Bah. Somehow Dennis pulled off a present for the deer he has been chasing all summer. I was hoping for a little more excitement..”

“………..More excitement than Santa ?”

“Ah..Good point”

The two lay together watching the deer being silly about the Team and the Zen Bucks snorting and flexing off to the side.

” Oh my!” cried out one of the does when Prancer winked at her.

” Gag me.” said one of the Zen Bucks.

Rhey chuckled.” Oh Deer me.”

Nothing to hum about

“GAAAAWWWWHHHH!” Hummie slammed down his drink, silly straw spinning around and around the rim of the collectible Hummies on Ice mug. ” Don’t MAKE me get out of my chair!” The Lazyhum chair spinning so he could face the barrage of wee humlings’ chaos.

Multiple hummingbird beaks suddenly clamping shut aiming towards the ceiling while dozens of eyes slowly turned to Hummie as he glared down at his offspring.

“Just one more peep! Just one more word!………………”

” But..” one of the little humlings uttered.

Hummie leap out of his chair, grabbed a couple packages and into the fireplace they went.

The sudden cry from the children was louder than the original din.

Hummie grabbed up a few more boxes in his arms and glared.

The room got quiet. Mrs. Hum, standing behind the kids, rolled her eyes. The night after the two of them had wrapped all the wee leetle hums’ presents, the two had then wrapped as many empty boxes to put under the Christmas twig….just for this occasion… She knew good and well that Hummie had been waiting impatiently for ANY reason to play his ” prank” on the kids.

Slowly, Hummie’s eyes scanned the room…waiting….He began to tap his foot…….waiting…..” Well? “

” But..” managed another of the kids.

In the fire went the new arm load of packages.

The humlings fell to their feathered little bottoms, staring in shock.

Hummie walked over to the twig, eyeing another stack of packages… Looked to the kids…bent over, picked up a nicely wrapped box and shook it…. Threw it back down , sat in his Lazyhum and turned the I-pad ( Large screen TV for the Hummie household ) volume. He hated when he was interrupted while watching ” Holidays with Hummies “ He knew a few of these guys when he use to travel South for vacations before Ma moved up to Zen….Zen… He should head up there and check on Lass…She went back up again to spend the holidays with Ma and Da.. Maybe later, if the sun was shining.

He could hear the kids starting to move around again, quietly making Gingerjuice cupcakes and aphid shaped sugar cookies. Mrs Hum working to keep the little monsters quiet while they worked.

The front door Burst open, Lass whipping in with a pack full of presents, belled Santa’s cap on her head, ” Hohoho! Iiiiitttt’s the Christmas Hum!” She called out as she tossed wing loads of presents under the twig.

“Crap.” Hummie muttered. She used the same gnat paper print he had. This would make tossing presents a little tougher. He turned up the volume again, calling over his shoulder. “Bout time.”

” You old Scrooge !” She wrapped her wings around Hummie from behind trapping him in his chair, picking at his head feathers with her beak.

” Gawhh! Back off you little…” Hummie yelled as he struggled.

Lass laughed, letting him go, she turn to the humlings. ” Dad giving you trouble again? “

” Jase..” Peeped one of the brood.” He tosseded our presents in the fire.”

Lass laughed again, went to the twig to shake presents, her eyes twinkling as she looked at her mom who shrugged and smiled. ” It’ll be fine. Santa will fix it…..IF you guys behave. Santa comes tonight so don’t make Dad unhappy or it’ll be coal dust in your stockings.”

” What’s it like at Zen? Is Ma ok?” One of the humlings asked Lass.

Ma is doing great as is Grumpa Lass giggled infectiously causing everyone in the room to giggle. Even Hummie smiled. ” It is coooooollldddd up there, but I am going to head back up after a bit so I can spend the night, open presents there and back to be with you brats for breakfast. Mmmmmmmm sugarshock pancakes and aphid bacon and eggs..YUM!”

The little Humlings all started laughing and clapping. Hummie, however, started to glare again.

” Shhhhh Dad is watching his favorite holiday show.” Lass urged. “We can bake quietly…Don’t want any more flaming presents.” and with that, the kids started cutting out cookies and lining pans quietly as Hummie skootched back into his chair and un-paused his show, muttering ” Dang kids…”


” Dude! catch up! Why are you always wandering off? Mama is going to swat you AND you are going to miss out on Santa...” The little bobcat called back to her brother.

” Don’t call me dude…my name is Damien !” He gruffed out as he snooped through the brush.

“His sister snorted.” Hardly! Jake….” she giggled and muttered” ..from State Farm..”

” Oh!! HoHo… That never gets old..There it is!” he grumped as he pounced. ” Got it!”

Both sisters spun to see what exactly he got. ” Ooooh what did you get?” Ceili asked.

” Probably a weed.”Shecie said.

” No uh!” Jake proclaimed,” It’s an Eagle feather! See!” Flopping on his rear He held the feather overhead between his paws. ” Ha! Early Christmas for me!”

” Oooooooohhh!” the girls chorused. “Pretty!”

The little male bobcat grabbed up the feather into his mouth , running up to catch his mother as she made her way into the clearing by the homestead. ” Mama ! Looky!” He said excitedly from around the feather.

” Very nice Jake.” Mama said, distractedly. She was watching the rest of the gang who had come in to watch the reindeer land.” Now put that away and go visit with the other kids. Look, there’s Dennis. You Like Dennis.”

” Yeah.. Ok..” Jake said, sighing as he tucked the feather behind his ear and running off towards the coyote kids.

“Hey Jake! What cha wearing? Jake from State Farm.” Rhey quipped.

Jake crinkled his nose. ” Really?”

Rhey laughed.” No really.. Whatcha got there behind your ear?”

” Ohhhh,,,,Right… Eagle feather! kewlll Huh!?!” Jake said. mocking a fashion pose.

” Very kkkewwwlll !” Said Dennis. ” Hey ! I caught a mouse !”

” No! Really? Let me see?” The little bobcat said as he plopped back down on his rump.

” Ummmmm ..Okkk.” Dennis opened his mouth wide. Talking with his tongue flat and mouth still wide open,” Can you see it?”

” Nah.. Too dark.” Jake said , his head inside Dennis’s mouth. ” Oh well.”

Dennis, plopped on his butt too facing Jake. ” I got Lil Buck a present.”

” Really? What? BBQ sauce?” Jake said with a smirk.

Rhey snorted. ” Cute.”

” Hah! No, apples.” Dennis said.

” Soo he’d taste sweeter?” The little bobcat grinned.

” I like you Jake from State farm. You’re funny.” Rhey smiled.

” Do you ALL watch TV or what? Course mama HAD to have us after spending the night sitting by Ma on her swing watching Hulu..” He grumped.

” Probably should have called you Mayhem .” His sister giggled and she snuck up behind him.

Spinning in the air, Jake growled” Rrroooowwwwhhh! Don’t DO that!”

Shecie giggled. ” Mama wants you.”

” But I just got here.” Jake pouted.

“Don’t care. Mama wants you.” She said, spinning around, running off to go chat with the deer.

Jake slunk back to his mama’s side. ” What’s up? Shecie said you wanted me. “

Santa is coming in. Let’s make sure you are all tidy. “ and with that she began licking his face, matting down the stray hairs.

” Pleh pleh pleh! Moooooooommmm Pleh pleh pleh.. Mom! this is embarrassing .” Jake puffed as he batted at his mother’s attentions.

Santa, reindeer and sleigh came into view overhead as they swung in to land.

Jake’s mouth dropped open. ” wwwwwoooooowwww. They really Do fly.”

The does were giggling and nudging one another as the sleigh came to a rest and the big bucks slipped their harnesses.

Jake made his way over to Lil Buck. ” Soooo what’s up with your mom?”

” She’s being weird. She liiiiikess Prancer.” He said, his nose all squidgy.

Jake stared at the buck for a moment..” Why?”

” No idea.. to embarrass me I imagine.” Lil Buck huffed. Looking down to Jake,” I need to get Dennis a present now. “

” Why?” Jake asked “… You could let him catch you.”

” Oh yeah.. Right.. Good Plan..Not. “ Lil Buck stared at Jake. ” Maybe something a little less permanent ?”

” Welll. He REALLY..I mean REALLY likes mice.” Jake said grinning.

” You want ME to catch a mouse?”

Jake shrugged. “I’ll catch one for you.. there are like bajillions of them here…and They don’t count on the Don’t eat list tonight.”

” How do I get it to him then?”

” Ask Dumbear to go into Da’s shop. He has boxes in there. Dumbear brings the box. I fill it with mice. You carry the box to Dennis.. Make him wait until tomorrow to open it …It’ll drive him nuts.” Jake laughed.

“……Ok.. I’ll meet you back here with the box..”

After some wheeling and dealing with Dumbear and the promise of a couple appules, Lil Buck was waiting for Jake, box open when the little bobcat came back.

” Ok..Don’t let them get away.” Jake said as he let go several mice tails.

Lil Buck, frantically kept slamming the box top down while Jake and his sisters loaded more and more mice.

” Enough already ! They are getting back out.” The little buck dried out. ” Gawwhh! I hate mice.”

” Yeh.. me too.. Their tails get caught in my teeth.. Yuck!” Shecie giggled. Lil Buck scrunched his nose.

Package filled and wrapped, Lil Buck , holding it by the ribbons, carried it to Dennis.

” What’s this?” Asked Dennis as the box vibrated on the ground.

” A present for you..Obviously. “Lil Buck grinned. ” I had help. from the bobcat kids and from them too. “

” Kewwwlll ! Can I open it?”

“Tomorrow morning. “

” What? But..But..” Dennis watched as his present bounced around on the ground. ” But..what is it? “

” A Christmas present…. You can open it tomorrow. “ Lil Buck giggled as he turn to walk off. Dennis staring at the moving box, his ears and tail vibrating.

Uh..Yeh.. Thanks for that.” Rhey grumped. ” Gonna have him up all night now.. Wretched dinner on the hoof.” She wandered off to go find Wraith.” Friggin Fast Food Friends of his.”

Jake sat, smiling at the other kids. This whole Christmas thing seem pretty fun so far. He didn’t get to talk to most of them during the year. Everyone chasing everyone or running from everyone. This wasn’t bad….Plus.. the deer were pretty funny.

Final Thoughts

One last set of stories coming up Christmas morning at 7am PST and then we are back to normal.

Remember; you can catch up if you like, from the Menu: Christmas shorts. It also has in the first story of this season to Ma’s and my Christmas Card vid…

I appreciate that folks have joined us , reading the short stories. One more to go then I am out of your hair for a few days.

Now.. Get to bed early. After Santa stops here, he has to come by your place as well.

and yeah…

This is

Just another Christmas Eve on Zen Mountain

Have a Jolly Day

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