Once upon a time in the future, it was getting closer to Christmas. The North Pole was ever so busy as more and more boys and girls were faxing [1] their lists to Santa. That’s right, I said faxing. The children of the world had become so skilled at using the computer, that they rarely wrote cursive [2] any more. Santa had kept up with the times. He had the latest in computer hardware and software, and in fact, had a whole new office dedicated to the latest in communication. Alas, Santa may know how to make toys and please little girls and boys, but he was no great shakes at setting up computer equipment. He made several holes in the wall trying to accommodate all the wires.

The Mouse Who Messed Up by Skip Gladue

 

Editor’s note: C’s Christmas story guaranteed to bring smiles, stir up nostalgia for some and serve as a gentle reminder for all. Enjoy this tale penned by my mother, Skip Gladue, in 1995. She did an original Christmas story every year for her Seven Mile Reporter column in the Cape May County Herald.

Once upon a time in the future, it was getting closer to Christmas. The North Pole was ever so busy as more and more boys and girls were faxing [1] their lists to Santa.

That’s right, I said faxing. The children of the world had become so skilled at using the computer, that they rarely wrote cursive [2] any more.

Santa had kept up with the times. He had the latest in computer hardware and software, and in fact, had a whole new office dedicated to the latest in communication. Alas, Santa may know how to make toys and please little girls and boys, but he was no great shakes at setting up computer equipment. He made several holes in the wall trying to accommodate all the wires.

That’s where I come in, me Art C. Mouse, C for short. We mice live in the walls of Santa’s house. And there is nothing we like better to do then watch all the elves singing at their work, making and painting, and packing and wrapping the gifts for all the children that Santa would visit on Christmas eve.

Being kind of curious about these machines which were so quiet, I would sneak out through a hole in the wall, climb up the wires and try to see what was going on. Oh, my, there were such pretty colors and pictures and squiggle things on the screen. I wish I knew how to make those pretty colors and pictures and squiggle things.

Now, while the North Pole was beaming with activity, we heard word from some distant relatives in Stone Harbor [3], that the post office was all but abandoned; but I guess I am getting ahead of my story.

Some relation on my mother’s side, twice removed, lived at the Post Office in Stone Harbor. They loved playing tag and hide and go seek, in and out of the post office boxes. But lately they have been very, very lonely.

“No one comes in for stamps [4] anymore,” said Tony Mouse.

“I haven’t written up a money order [5] in ages,” said Mikey Mouse.

“There’s no one to make popcorn [6] any more,” said Marleen Mouse.

Because everyone had computers, they didn’t write letters any more, they didn’t pay bills by mail any more, why they even didn’t come physically to the Shore anymore because they could experience it in their own homes through virtual reality [7].

So, while it was pretty lonely in Stone Harbor, the North Pole was busier than ever. But that was about to change. You see, one night during my usual outing, I accidentally tripped some wires. And the screen went blank. There were no more pretty colors, no more pretty pictures and no more squiggle things.

I hopped around on the keyboard trying to bring the pretty pictures back, but nothing happened. At last, Mrs. Santa came into the room and realized that something was wrong.

“The computer screen is bland,” said Mrs. Santa. “I wonder what happened. Let me just take a look.”

And like the good woman that she was, she know not to panic, but to first look and see if the computer was plugged in. [8] And it wasn’t. So she put the plug back in and the screen lit up. When she left the room I jumped around for joy on the pretty buttons; alias, they were the sones marked Delete, Escape, Delete.

When Santa came in to check the latest faxes and saw the monitor, his face went as white as his beard. The messages were gone. The lists were gone. The children’s names and addresses were gone. And, he had bee so busy lately, that he forgot to do his Colorado backup [9] every night.

“Oh, dear, dear, I’m afraid it is going to be a very poor Christmas this year. I don’t remember who asked for what, and I don’t know where they live. Oh, what shall I do?” he mused.

Upon hearing this I scampered back into the wall and told my mother of the pending disaster.

“We have to get a message to Stone Harbor,” said Mother Mouse. “Take the Milky Way and hitch a ride on the latest communications satellite, the one that feeds Warner Cable.

“We’ll pass the word to the boys and girls to get out their pads, sharpen their pencils and write their Christmas Lists to Santa.

“If they take the lists to the Post Office our brethren will see that Santa gets the mail,” she said.

And that is exactly what happened. The boys and girls greeted their new found skills with delight, and sat down and wrote to Santa, every girl and boy.

The end result was that while they still relished working on their computers, they realized that they could have lots of fun writing and drawing and coloring pictures all by themselves without using the computer programs such as Print Shop [10], Creative Writer, or Word Perfect.

Santa learned his lesson too. He never forgot to back-up again. And he even kept a back—up disk off site at the South Pole, just in case.

And, I Art C. Mouse, C for short, the one responsible for getting us in trouble in the first place, was relieved when everything worked out al right thanks to my mother and her relatives, twice removed.

-30-

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