Zen’s The Night before Christmas 2021

Zen’s 7th Annual

Twas the night before Christmas,

When all cross Zen things were a stirrin’, You could hear Jake the bobcat waiting and purring.

Rhey and Red padded their way up from the den home, then came Dennis , a mouse swinging from his lips so he’d not be alone.

Our Girl followed by her young boy Bucky ,moved in to the meadow through the trees being first, they felt pretty lucky.

Ma at her wheel spinning while I sat in my chair sat by the fire, listing to Rhey and her kin; the coyote kids’ choir.

Over the hill and up through the draw, across the meadows, fields and all. Here came all the kids of Zen mountain’s through the snow fall.

Dozens of elk, a small herd of deer, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, owls, bunnies and even Stinkie, all knowing that Santa was near.

I look out the window at the vast growing mob, the yard filling with our wild kids, I groaned thinking of the cleanup because dammit; that’s my job.

I threw open the shutters, glaring and growled. They all waved back, grinning, seems my grumpiness was just not allowed.

All heads turn to the skies at the first sight of St. Nick ,I had to sit down, I was feelin’ kinda sick.

A bound and a bounce , I heard the roof rattle, the damn reindeer were landing like a herd of fat cattle.

Ma in her shawl and I in my robe, made our way out to the porch to watch Santa unload.

From out of his bag came an immense load of goodies he tossed to each kid, even half dozing hummies in Ma’s handspun woolen hoodies with fluttering eyelids.

While Dasher and crew fanned out to visit their compadres, Santa turned to wink at Ma and myself he looked at me side ways.

We ushered him in, that jolly old elf, I wouldn’t have Ma entertain Santa alone by herself.

He sat in my chair as I closed the door, I glared, tapping my toe, he grin, slip off his boots and and I think I swore.

Jolly ole St. Nick relaxed while Ma showed him her newly knitted gloves, handspun from bunnies, sheeps , and possibly essence of doves.

He ooohed and he ahhhed as only Santa can do, then she showed off the handspun, knitted baubles on the tree and he stood still as a statue.

Gently he lifted a bauble with care, that jolly Old Elf just stood and he stared.

Ma, my better half in all the grand ways, gifted Santa the bauble to his seemingly endless and rambling praise.

Placing his new gift carefully inside of his bag, he gave Ma a hug then turn to me next I choked on my tea and started to gag.

I shrugged and grin, what else could I do, he was ready for me now I put down my tea and grabbed us both a brew.

Santa smiled and winked and patiently waited, I got up to take him to play with work I created. Guitars some new and others I’ve changed. Bits and bobs, pickups and and more lay bout the room on my bench and across my floor.

He grin as he looked at the old Gibson Sg, I smiled and I nodded, he lift it with glee. He strum a few bars, I grab up my Strat we got into the mood we jam while we sat.

Time passes by while we do what we love, we were finally stopped by that tap on the window from a cold mourning dove.

She, tap once again, with impatience not an iota of mirth, bringing us out ,snapping things back down to earth.

Ma sat by the fire, a cupper at hand, a plate full of candies, cookies, and coffee, to get Santa ready for the trip that is annually planned.

Santa looked to me, that jolly ole elf, shaking his head, grinning and muttering to his self. Each year we banter, we tussle and play, every time he leaves, we think there’ll be many more Christmases together, we hope and we pray.

With a hug fit for Ma and a slap on my back, jolly ole St. Nick slip back on his boots and grab up his sack.

All the kids let out a cheer as he walked out the door, The reindeer got ready for the next part of the chore.

They leap to the roof , the banging and clatter, this dang time I knew what the heck was the matter.

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!”

Christmas Eve with the kids

And he was a swangin’

Dennis watched as Santa’s sleigh swung in from overhead in the snow flecked skies, a mouse dangling from his jaws, tugged at it’s tail.

Let me down! Let me down! I want to see Santa.” The mouse squeaked, his rear legs planted on Dennis’s upper and lower lips as he grasp his tail, jerking at it.

” You can see Santa better from my height than from the ground in the snow.” Dennis muttered around mouse tail.

The little mouse relaxed all at once, crossing his arms across his chest, swinging back and forth, a scowl on his face. Dressed all in red with a Santa type cap, the mouse muttered and grumbled of mistreatments.

Dennis laughed through his teeth, “ Dude. Chill. It’s Christmas Eve. Be happy your aren’t one of the mice that are hanging by their tails on our Christmas tree upside down, holding candles. Be even happier you’re not in one of my present boxes I KNOW someone would have given me. But be jolly because when Santa leaves, you get to scurry home..for another day.. Oh you Will be what’s on the menu..Oh yes..Yes you will.”

The mouse looked up at Dennis as he swung back and forth in the rhythm of Dennis’s head swinging back and forth as he watched the sleigh slowly spiral in . Uncrossing his arms, he climbed his tail to look Dennis in the eye.

Fine. Fine. ” Then at least let me sit on your head so I can watch properly.”

Dennis giggled and shook the mouse free to swing back and forth again.

The mouse crossed his arms once again… swinging….by his tail.

Jake came bounding up to Dennis, sliding in the snow on his haunches in front of him. His head beginning to swing back and forth as he watched the mouse.

Umm Hey Dennis… Whatcha doing..??..”

Just waiting for Santa, like everyone else. How is your Christmas Eve so far?”

Oh..Fine.. Fine..Did you know?… You have something hanging from your chin.”

Oh.. He knows..” Grumped the mouse. Glaring first up at Dennis, then down to the little bobcat.

Holy Crap! It’s alive! Get it off Get it off!” Dennis squealed, sending Jake arse over tea kettle before Dennis burst out laughing as the little cat looked up at him, snow covering his face and head. Even the mouse was laughing as he lay, sprawled on the snow.

Oh Crap!” Both the mouse and Dennis cried out at the same time, they both realizing that the mouse was free.

The mouse took off through the snow, bounding over the crust while Dennis leap through the snow, sinking to his throat, leaping again and again in an attempt to catch up.

Jake stood, shook himself and primly trotted across the top of the snow to go find other friends.

He’s not Heavy He’s my…

Jake wove his way between the legs of the does as he searched for Bucky in the sea of deer. Every so often he’d get a light kick or shove as the girls huddled, waiting, as the reindeer circled above.

Seriously.. They come every year. You’ve actually met them..Jeeze… Move aside . Move aside.” Jake said as he head butted a doe ankles, trying to squeeze through.

Bucky looked down at the young bobcat at his feet, his back pressed against the doe’s forelegs behind him, as he grumbling in feline mutters.

Hi Ya Jake from Zen Mountain.” Bucky grinned.

This is like only my second year alive and all, but what’s the big fuss? They are just more deer…” Jake asked.

Bucky made an ” Ohh” face as the crowded herd all got silent.

Jake’s eyes widened, all color draining to black. “ Oossppp?”

Bucky , quickly lowered his head, scooping Jake up behind his budding antlers and onto his back. “ Ummm Jake was just teasing.. You know cats.. Mischief.. and all.”

Jake, wide eyed nodded as he peeked from between Bucky’s ears at the glowering does, whispering, ” Whada I say?”

They wait all year to see these guys. Even my mum has the hots for Dasher.”

Bucky!”

What? You do…. Dasher says this and Dasher does that and if Dasher was your dad you’d..”

Bucky.. Want to go back to your meadow?”

Not really..Why?”

Our Girl glared now at Bucky as he stood grinning at her, the small bobcat peeping out at her, only the top of his head, ears and eyes visible. She snorted, shook her head , returning to the conversations with the other girls.

The sleigh finally landing and lay to rest in the yard, the reindeer team began to move about chatting with the kids and flirting with the girls.

Dasher look over to Bucky, cocking his head to the side. Making his way to the young buck.

Hi ya Bucky. You have grown nicely over the year. Did you know ? You have something on your neck. You get chilled? A scarf maybe?”

I’m Jake! Jake from Zen Mountain.” Jake popped his head up and said with a growl.” Not a scarf.”

Indeed you are Jake..Jake from Zen Mountain.. I remember you from last year.. You have grown too..”

Jake settled back down on Bucky’s neck, somewhat soothed , though watching, his stub tail twitching.

Your mom says you’re wanting to work on Try outs for the team Bucky.”

Yup. I practice a lot, Jump Jump Jump , you know.. Run Run Run.”

Ahh.. Fine Fine. You work on Take Offs?”

Well.. I jump a lot.. Can’t fly so no Take offs.”

I bet Bucky could fly if you showed him how.” Jake popped in, his eyes peeking over Bucky’s head once again.

Dasher laughed softly. “ And maybe you’re right Little Cat. Soon as I do a little more chatting with Bucky’s mom, we’ll see.”

OOOOOhhhhhhhh… Dasher and Our Girl sitting in a tree….” Jake starting in a sing song before he was interrupted by Dasher.

You’ll want to lose the cat.. He’ll weigh you down.”

Nahhh He ain’t heavy, he’s my kitty.”

BaBaBaBad to the Bone

Rhey padded around the gathering chatting with friends, along with, meals to be , giving them a sparkly wink as she passed by. More than one bunnie hid in sea of does’ legs. Rhey snorted, moving along. Looking up she was nose to nose with Wraith; her long time boy friend, both grinning and nuzzling.

Heeeeyyy there Big Boy. Whatcha doin after the fest?”

Hey Rhey. I was just going to hang out with the guys, do some caroling and such.”

Ahh..”

Buuuuuuttttttt I could make a minor change in plans if you aren’t too busy.”

Well… I was going to go see if my mangy brother; Dennis swapped out his present to me yet. But I suppose, you know, if you weren’t busy, I could maybe do something else.”

Moonlight romp maybe?”

It’s snowing.. no moon in sight to romp under.”

You are always difficult aren’t you?”

Only when I’m awake.”

So run with the pack or on our own?”

Caroling sounds pretty tempting.”

We…could.. try a duet maybe?”

Hi Guys!” Dennis called and he slid up to the two. Looking back and forth between them, The small mouse, dressed in red, swinging back and forth from his mouth.”

Wraith’s eyes followed the mouse’s swing, eyes drifting back and forth. The mouse gulped.

Merry Christmas?” The mouse squeaked .

Did you know? … You have something caught in your teeth.” Wraith said to Dennis looking up for only a moment, then back to the swinging mouse.

Rhey sighed heavily. “ Really? Seriously?.. This is your version of ‘ Squirrel’?”

Wraith looked apologetically back to Rhey. ” Umm Sorry?”

Rhey rolled her eyes. “ Boys… You’re all…. Boys.. I’m outie.. Places to go Things to eat.”

Yeah but.. Caroling? Duet?.. Romping?” Wraith asked to Rhey’s retreating back.

That was so BaBaBaBad to the Bone.” The swinging mouse Chirped.

Dennis crossed his eyes to look down at the mouse.

Wraith’s lip curled in a quiet growl.

What? You gonna threaten to bite me?” The mouse said crossly, arms crossed as he swung.. His tiny hat finally falling to the snow below..” Perfect.”

Final Thoughts

Temperatures soon to drop like a rock had the kids playing about the yard while they still could. By early week, we are suppose to be hit with with horrible lows close to 0F. Depending on who you listen to, there may or may not be a ton of snow with it.

Though they ALL get their info from NOAA, as do I, different reporters broadcast feet of snow and higher temps where I see lower temps and less snow. With weather coming out of the North, you simply can never tell. We could easily get hit with the low singles and snow though it has been a very long time since that has happened…. Pre-grey hair. But, it happened. We actually got all the way down to Minus 35F… and yes, I had to walk a mile to a rig to drive to work in it.. The truck would barely turn over, the oil all but frozen. Warming it up was a must more for it than myself as even a couple times when it said it was warm, there were still spots in the radiator that were frozen and I had problems.

All of this could, in fact, happen. Fortunately, unlikely, but it could. The thing about the currents changing is , Weather reports tend to only go out a few days correctly then it is a mad guess, they try to put an up twist at the end , if they can, so we all don’t freak out… With this one, there is no happy light yet…

But, we still have a couple days of decent winter weather and the kids plan to make the most of it.

Lass and Hollywood, play right outside my window off and on all day, keeping an eye on me. I keep telling them to head down to the Brown Stone: Hum Central, in town, but they refuse. I do watch their feeder in case they have problems that I can see, if I can , I’ll bring them in again but I hope when the temps start to drop they’ll head down like normal.

Our Girl and Bucky hang about with their friends though they too are packed and ready to hit the lowlands for a few days.

Limpy and the pack are gathering goods to store close to the den for the few days of the cold snap, they don’t want much to be out and about any more than anyone else. With a cold snap, if there is wind, which there normally is, the minus 0F temps are hard even on them.

Jake, his sisters and Mom, being bobcats, tend to move to their own little areas of Zen, being like Ma and I and not overly social. They do, most every winter when it is bad, come in to check on us, sitting outside Ma’s office window to watch her work, and trotting by to look in my window as well.

The elk will go lower into the vale while this is the time for the wolves and eagles to move in. Seems like a smart move for the elk.

Today? Well Today is a beautiful day on Zen, if you’re into that Christmas Eve snow thing. 33F and a nice light fluffy snow is falling all but straight down.

Ma is , in fact, working, as always but at least the day isn’t as bad as it could be for her.

I got my chores done.. Doing what I need for today and trying to remember what all I should before the cold snap hits to keep us from Freezing lines. I managed to get most of the base of the house sealed this year after the contractor that was paid to do it managed a zero percent, so that’ll help. I know it still isn’t perfect yet. The seal expands and takes forever up here to cure so areas that I thought would gap has some seepage and others I don’t see any so I know it’ll take another round this coming year, but it will be so much better than letting all the wind go under the house actually lifting the flooring…Gotta love what they consider ” good enough” now days.

While Ma works, I wanted to get up these stories for the folks that do enjoy them. Anyone that has no idea what the heck.. There are the Christmas shorts from the Past along with the other short story tabs at the top of the page. I know it can get a little confusing if you don’t know the cast.

So as the winter breeze blows and the soft Christmas snow falls. A fire in the wood stove, the tree decorated and lit.

Home made decorations hung with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be here

cause Dude, we only get a few hours a year to jam…

The 7th Annual "Twas the Night Before Christmas" on Zen with a few short stories added afterwards.

Making this

Just another Christmas Eve on Zen Mountain

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