On the Saturday night before Christmas, I went with my friends Andrew, Adam, Kevin, and Brian to see The Hobbit. We attended the latest possible screening, and were thus alone in the theater as we enjoyed the adventures of Bilbo Baggins.
Our enjoyment of what we saw in the film was overwhelmed by our surprise at what we found when we left the theater. While we had been watching the movie, the snows of Christmas had come early. The snowfall was prodigious; it was piled to our knees, and glistening flakes continued to fall. The roads had vanished, disappeared under the thick blanket of cold white. No one was to be seen anywhere, and we could find no reason to think that anyone would be stirring again until well after Christmas.
As we contemplated the seeming impossibility of returning home, we noticed a dark object moving high in the sky. When it came closer, we saw that it was an ornate sleigh pulled by deer; it flew down through the snowflakes, and slid to a stop in the street before us. The red-clad man driving the sleigh, the man who could only be Santa Claus, addressed us.
"Ho, ho, ho," said Santa, "What are you boys doing out here in the blizzard?"
"We just got out of the late showing of The Hobbit, and now I fear that we are stranded," I replied, "But we could ask the same of you. What are you doing out three days before Christmas?"
"The sleigh needs testing, and the route needs charting," laughed Santa, "It would be foolish to travel without rehearsal when a world is depending on my prompt arrival. You, though, look as if you may not be traveling at all; come, I can offer you passage, there is always room on my sleigh."
And so we climbed onto the sleigh, and it launched into the sky. We conversed with Santa, and, spurred by talk of the movie that we had seen, he spoke of the long-gone days before he had become Santa Claus, or Sinterklaas, or even Saint Nicholas, when he himself had lived under another name among the peoples of Middle Earth. He recalled times spent with the elves, the dwarves, and the hobbits, and how his counsel had been sought by Gandalf and other wizards. He told us wild tales of orcs and trolls, of dragons, and of magic, as all the while we soared through the falling snow, high above the lights of the city, high enough to see the dark mountains to the west, and the dark waters to the east.
And then, when his store of stories was exhausted, Santa brought his sleigh back down toward the ground, and returned us all to our homes, where we had nothing to do but rest without a care and await the joys of Christmas.
* * * * * * * * *
Okay, none of that happened. I did try to get some friends together to see The Hobbit, but it proved more difficult than averting the Fiscal Cliff, and after three weeks of negotiations things broke down at the last minute.
And needless to say it almost never snows here in the DC area, especially on or near Christmas.
Also, Santa Claus doesn't exist. Middle Earth doesn't exist. I might not even exist; that is still controversial.