Yesterday's Magazette

6 – Nellie Claus Goes Along For The Ride

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BY NED BURKE

It was the night before Christmas and jolly old Santa was quietly loading up his sleigh when Mrs. Claus yelled out, “And just where do you think you’re going tonight, Nicholas?”

“Why, Nellie dear,” Santa said with a grin, “have you forgotten what night this is?”

Nellie Claus wrapped a shawl around her shoulders and walked out to the sleigh.

“Guess you’re going to tell me it’s Christmas Eve again,” she said, standing In the deep snow beside her husband. “And I guess all this junk in your sleigh is for those nice well-behaved children you’re always telling me about, huh?” She paused and raised both bushy eyebrows. “Come on! What do you take me for, huh? I’ve heard that same story a hundred times! ” She jabbed her bony finger into her husband’s obese middle. “Not this time, Nick! I’m going with you.”

Fifteen minutes later poor old Nick was on his twenty-second “but-but” when his wife, dressed In a matching red outfit, jumped into the sleigh and said, “Nicholas! Are we going or not?”

“But … but … aaah, all right, all right.” The big guy climbed into the sleigh reluctantly.

After a while he relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. It was a beautiful night for a sleigh flight. The stars sparkled silently; silhouetting the solar system and the mystic moon mellowed merrily before the Milky Way. Of course, he never uttered those words to his wife. She hated alliteration.

Anyway, that night all the heavens seemed to sparkle and shine for these two celestial travelers. But soon they left all this majesty and descended upon the unmajestic world far below.

As they came down to earth, Nellie repeatedly warned her husband about getting too close to the telephone lines and was also kind enough to point out to him his many other bad driving habits.

But the thing that really got her uptight was when her husband decided to enter the first house by using the front door. She called him back and said, “Why aren’t you using the chimney?”

Santa flung the bundle of toys to the ground and shouted at his wife. “Oh Nellie! For crying out loud! I gave up that chimney routine fifty years ago!”

“Why? Don’t they make chimneys as wide any more?”

Santa’s face turned bright red and his nose lit up like a cherry. He raised and lowered his clenched fist a few times and snarled at his wife. “Ho! Ho! Ho! You’re a riot, Nellie! You’re a real comedian! That’s it. Keep it up. Keep it up.” He pointed toward the moon. “One of these days. POW! … ZOOM! You’ll be the first human satellite!”

Nellie got out of the sleigh and playfully patted her husband’s belly. “Come on, Jackie Gleason, let’s get to work.”

They spent the next hours tip-toeing into and out of each and every yuletide dwelling across this great planet. Then as they took off for home, Santa joyously exclaimed to the sleepy world below: “Happy Christmas to all … and to all a good night!

Nellie raised her eyebrows and looked over her glasses at her husband.

“Nicholas,” she said sarcastically, “we can do without the commercial. Just shut up and drive.”

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