Nugget Nate Saves Christmas

10 Dec

I wrote this story last year on Christmas eve. I hope that you enjoy seeing how that ole rascal, Nugget Nate, meets Santa for the first time and helps him. Let me know what you think of this tale.

Santa's Sleighjpg

It was Christmas Eve and Nugget Nate was carefully wrapping the gifts he had made for Penny and Young David. This would be the first Christmas David would be able to enjoy, and Nate had spent all year on creating the boy the perfect Christmas toy. He had built a large model of Noah’s Ark and carefully over the last eleven months carved two of every animal. He polished the last one and put them in the burlap sack and tied it with a wayward string from his own buckskin leggings.

Almost the same care and attention had gone into Penny’s gift, and he was positive she would know she had the best Nativity Scene anyone had ever owned. He already knew what she had gotten him and had helped David with the gift he had picked for him, too. He loved that his upper-crust society wife understood all a mountain man needs is simple, practical gifts. And the new buckskins she had made for him and the beaver skin gloves she had helped David tan were perfect. Tomorrow would be just perfect for him and his family. They were in Kentucky visiting his mama and would be staying until after his baby sister’s hitchin’ on the first. Then they would go back to New York for David to continue to get the doctor’s treatments that he needed to grow stronger.

Just like every night, Nate walked over to where his sickly son lay sleeping beside his mama and laid his hands on him again. He began to press in asking the Good Lord to strengthen and heal his son. As he pounded on heaven’s door, a single tear slipped past his lid and ran down into his beard where it disappeared into the wealth of sandy blonde facial hair adorning the Legend’s face. He moved his hand to his wife’s cheek and once more thanked God for the cherished gift of his most precious Penny. Nate quickly shucked out of his skins and climbed into the feather bed beside the two most precious people in his life. Just as he was starting to slip into slumber that all too familiar feeling came on him, pulling him back to full wakefulness. He was getting a Callin’. Someone needed his help.

The person he felt needed him didn’t make much sense. He knew those feelings were never wrong and God sent him what he needed to know, but how in the world could he believe what he was being shown? It couldn’t be. Nate loved Christmas as much as the next storyteller. He told Saint Nick stories to the kiddies every pig pickin’, just like the mountaineer had heard his Daddy tell them, but they all knew they were just that, stories. So why was the picture in his head of Jolly Ole Saint Nick and that pull to get a move on so strong? Only one way to find out, Nate had learned long ago. So he got up, slipped on his clothes and gear, grabbed his bearskin coat, and headed out the door. As he passed the workshop, he swung in and grabbed a hand drill. No idea why, but he knew he’d need it fer this adventure was done.

The snow was just beginning to fall again and by the height of the moon, Nate knew it was Christmas Morn. “Well, Happy Birthday, Jesus. I hope yer getting a good laugh; got me up here looking fer wonderlights and Christmas Spirits.” The only response he got was a slight change in direction and up the mountain he went. About an hour later, Nate heard the sound of sleigh bells, and as he rounded a bend in the trail he came to a complete stop. His mouth dropped open at what he saw. A very loaded sleigh with eight reindeer hitched to it and Santa Clause himself on his knees at the head of the team beltin’ out a prayer of his own. “I know that you have a plan, Lord. Please send me the help I need to keep my vow to you again this year. Otherwise, I don’t see how I’m going to get these presents delivered in Your name this year.”

Nate shuffled a few steps closer and saw the Jolly ole Toymaker look up at him. There was no denying who this was, even if he wanted to because when the Legend saw him he burst forth in the most famous laugh known round the world. “HO! HO! HO! Thank you, Jesus!”

Nate continued to stand staring at the big man as he rose from the ground. “Well, Nugget Nate, as I live and breath. Don’t just stand there, man, get over here and help me fix this here sleigh. I’m running out of Christmas Magic and got a lot of stops yet to make.”

Nate shook off his shock and walked over to where Santa stood. “Well, Nick, y’all don’t mind iffen I call ya Nick, do ya?”

Santa chuckled again, “Of course not, Nate. I’m about to be receiving some of yer special type help so it’s the least I can do.”

Nate nodded, “What’s the problem and how can I help?”

Santa pointed to the hitching bar on the right side of the sleigh. Dasher slipped a step and we hit that there cedar and snapped the hitching bar. Now I can’t steer the sleigh.”

“That’s simple enough. I’ll just cut one of these saplings and fashion ya ‘nother one in about ten shakes.”

Chris Cringle shook his head. Can’t do that, Nate. I would have been able to do that myself. I do have a bit of experience with making things, you know.” His eyes twinkled.

“See, my sleigh only flies because the Good Lord sends the angels that sang to the shepherds to sing over the sled and empower it with the blessing of that special night. If we replace the bar with one that hasn’t been blessed, I still won’t be able to complete my task.”

Nate stroked his beard and looked around at where they were. They were just a stone’s throw from his favorite fishin’ hole and he remembered an old water hardened hollow log precisely a bit rounder than Santa’s broken bar. “Alright then, how about a splint? Will that damage the power of the Blessing?”

Santa gave it a though for a minute. “Well, the whole stave would still be in place, so I don’t think it would. Anyway, I would say if God sent you and this is the answer you came up with it’s probably what he has in mind.”

Nate nodded. “Alright. Well, gives me a hand and we’ll gets you back up and running in two shakes of a coon’s tail.”

Nate and Santa went down to the creek and sure enough there was the log. Nate pulled out Davey’s hatchet and after a few minutes of chopping had a section about two inches longer than the break on each side. He took the hatchet and split the log in two sections’ He took half and Santa took half, they went and placed them over the split after putting the broken pieces together again. Nate took the drill, drilled two holes through the whole thing on each end, and then quickly fashioned four cedar pegs. Using the flat side of Davey’s hatchet, he pounded them in and poured some water from the creek over them to swell them and hold the patch snug.

As Santa ran his hand over Nate’s work, there was a faint gold and silver glow that passed from his hand to the patch. The sleigh lifted a few inches off the ground, and the team began to grow restless. “Yes, Dasher, I see it. We’ll be back to it in a moment.”

The Legendary Toymaker turned to the Legendary Mountaineer and held out his hand. “Thank you, Nugget Nate. I am much obliged to you. Now help me into this contraption so I can get back to my mission, seeing as how yours is done and mine is only just begun.”

Nate helped the man up into the sleigh and shook his head. “Won’t no one believe me even if I told them this tale. What’s worse is every word would be true.”

Santa threw back his head and roared out his trademark laugh. “Same will be true for me too, Nate. When I tell the Missus and my workers that I met you, they won’t believe me either.”

Nate reached into his belt and pulled out his Arkansas Tooth Pick. “Well, this here is the very knife Jim Bowie gave me when I beat him in that knife throwin’ demonstration. You jes show them that and they’ll have to believe ya.”

Santa laughed again. “We both know this is not the very knife, but I’ll take it anyway. In return let me give you a Christmas gift.” He reached under his seat and pulled out a small wooden chest with the letters SC surrounded by a wreath carved into the lid. “You take these and use them to keep making people happy with your handiwork, Nate.”

Nate opened the chest to see a set of wood carving tools finer than anything he’d ever seen in his life. “Won’t you be needin’ these to make them toys ya deliver?”

“I happen to know the Missus just got me a new set made. I didn’t know why I felt the need to bring these with me but reckon they were meant for you. Now enough jawing. You done finished your callin’; I need to complete mine. Time to remind the kids of HIS love for them.”

With a snap of the reigns and a whistle Santa exclaimed, “On Dasher, On Dancer. On Prancer and Vixen. Up Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.” The team strained at the hitching rails and up the sleigh went. When it had reached the top of the trees, Nugget Nate heard Saint Nick say, “Merry Christmas, Nugget Nate, you saved Christmas tonight!”

Nate watched until he couldn’t see the sleigh or its little ole driver anymore and started back to his bed. He knew God was in control, and if he had wonders like Nick out there working for HIM, then he had Nate’s little family in the palm of His Mighty Hand. “Merry Christmas, Nick, God bless your trip.”

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Posted by on December 10, 2015 in Book Reviews


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