Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

The Best Christmas Ever

August 19, 2009

It was only two months before Christmas and Santa was very worried.  Surely the rumors could not be true.  The United Nations had declared Canada to be the best country in which to live, and yet he had heard there were many farmers who could not make a living from the land. Workers were not making a decent living and many people did not have enough to eat.  Santa sat in his office smoking his pipe and pondering what he should do.
Finally he summoned his two most reliable elves (Black and Decker) into his office and told them what he had decided. He instructed them to go on a fact-fining tour to find out if it were true that farmers were not producing enough food and as a result many Canadians did not have enough to eat.
Black was the elf that looked after the reindeer and was almost as good as Santa at driving the sleigh.  Decker on the other hand was a computer nerd who would record everything they learned on his laptop computer.
Black and Decker arrived over Saskatchewan just as the sun was beginning to rise.  They looked down upon farm after farm and were pleased to note that all the granaries were bulging with grain and many farms had grain piled in the yard.  Then they flew over huge hog barns filled with thousands of hogs and feedlots filled with cattle.  “How could a rumor get started that people were going hungry when there was so much food around?” they asked.  Just then Decker saw a woman in her yard  walking from the barn toward  her house.  “Let’s land and ask that woman if she has an explanation,” they said in unison.
The woman was very surprised to see Santa’s sleigh so soon before Christmas but when the elves explained their mission, she invited them into her kitchen for a cup of cocoa.  The woman said her husband was away driving the school bus and wouldn’t be home until five o’clock.  She said she didn’t know very much about the farm as it was her husband that did all the work.  All she did, she said, was do the bookkeeping, the yard work and drive the tractor on the weekends when she wasn’t teaching kindergarten.  “It is true,” she said, “we have no problem producing food, it is just that we can’t seem to make enough money at it.”  “What is money?” the elves asked again in unison.  The woman looked surprised at the question. “It’s a little hard to explain,” she said.  “Perhaps it would be easier if I show you.”  She disappeared into her bed room and soon returned with a large hand bag.  She emptied the bag  onto the kitchen table and started to sort through its contents.  After a while she found the little change purse she was looking for.  She opened it and took out a five-dollar bill.  “This,” she said,  handing the bill to Decker, “is what money looks like.”  “It looks like a piece of paper to me,” Black said.  “It is paper,” the woman assured them.  “Can you eat it?” asked Decker.  “Of course not!” the woman said. “But you can exchange it for anything you want, including things you can eat.”  “So if everyone had enough of this paper  no one would go hungry?” the elves asked.   “That’s right,” she said. “We have lots of food; the problem is we just don’t have enough of that kind of paper.”  “Who makes this kind of paper?” the elves asked. “The government does,” she said.  “So, why doesn’t the government make more of this paper and give it to the people who need food, shelter and clothing?” the elves asked.  “Oh, the government could never do that,” she explained. “That would cause a terrible disease called inflation which would make some people very sick.”   “Did you ever have this disease?” the elves asked.  “We have had inflation many times,” she said, “but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone around here.  I understand it did make a lot of rich people sick for a while, although they all seemed to recover very well as soon as the inflation had passed.”
Decker made a few entries in his computer and then they thanked the woman for her time and headed for the city.
Soon they were passing over a big building with a lot of smoke coming out of the chimney.  They landed on the roof and entered through a skylight.  They found many people working on big machines making automobiles.  Black went up to a dirty faced man working at a lathe and asked if he could have a few words with him.  “Not now,” he said, “you’ll have to wait until my coffee break.”  Black and Decker went into the coffee room and waited.  After a while the dirty- faced man came
in for his coffee.  “Why do you work so hard on that machine,” Decker asked.  “I have to,” the man said with a sigh, “I need the money to feed and clothe my family.”  Every year the money buys less and less, so every year I must work longer and longer.”  The elves were about to ask why the factory owner didn’t give the workers more money but then they remembered what the farm woman had said about the terrible disease inflation.  So they thanked the young man for his time and walked out onto the street.
A bright SAFEWAY sign caught the eye of the two elves.  When they went in they could not believe the sight that greeted them.  Food as far as the eye could see.  There was aisle after aisle of fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods piled almost to the ceiling, and bulk goods in barrels from wall to wall and meat of every kind.  “How can little bits of paper keep the people from feeding themselves when there is so much food around?”  This was the question the elves kept asking themselves.
Then they walked back out onto the street.  The pair had not gone far when they came upon a long line of people waiting to get through a door.  “With so many people wanting to get in, what ever is behind that door must be very special,” the elves thought.  When they inquired, a young woman informed them that they were all waiting to get in to the food bank.  She explained that, because they were out of work, they didn’t have enough money to buy food, so they had to rely on the generosity of others.  “Why don’t you go to the factory and help the young man who is working so hard?” they asked.  “Then both of you would have a job and both of you would have enough to eat.”  “Oh, I could never do that,”  the young woman said “That would cause the great disease inflation and rich people would get very sick.”  Although she had never had the disease herself, she was assured by the Government that the disease was very debilitating for those who got it.
All this was very puzzling to the elves.  “Surely there must be someone around with enough money,” they thought.  While the elves were pondering this question they noticed a pair of individuals approaching who were dressed unlike anyone they has ever seen before.  The man was wearing a three piece suit and the woman was dressed in a long black fur coat.  “Excuse me, sir,” Black said. “I wonder if you could help us. We are looking to find some one who has a lot of money and we are wondering if you know of such a person?”  The man said, ” You need to look no further—we are people who have a lot of money.”  The elves were very happy to meet these wealthy people and told them they were the first people they had met who had enough money.  “Hold on a minute,” the man said, “I didn’t say I had enough money, I just said I had a lot of money.  I will never have enough.”  The elves were very surprised at this and asked, “Do you spend all your money on things you need like food and clothing and shelter?”  “Of course not,” the man said, “we have everything we want, so all the extra money goes into the bank where the pile gets bigger and bigger. Even if we never put any more in the bank the pile will just keep getting bigger and bigger.”  “If the pile keeps getting bigger doesn’t that mean someone is creating  more money and won’t that cause the dreaded disease called inflation,” the elves asked?   The man laughed at this suggestion and the woman laughed too.  “No, no,” he said, “the disease inflation is caused by the government creating the new money.  If the bank creates the new money it doesn’t cause the disease inflation, it causes something good called prosperity. ” Decker suggested he give some of his money to those who didn’t have enough so that every one would have enough to eat.
“I could never do that,” the man said, “The reason those people don’t have any money because they are lazy.  If I were to give them money they would become even lazier and very soon no one would work and then we would all starve.”  “If you have most of the money, how then do the poor people get enough to feed themselves?”  Decker asked. “That is very easy to explain,” the man said,  “You see, as my pile of money gets bigger and bigger it becomes harder and harder to manage.  I have to hire more and more people to hold it down to keep it from blowing away on windy days.  But try as I might, sometimes the wind is so strong that some of my money blows away and is picked up by the poor people, and that’s how they get their money.  It’s called the trickle-down theory. The more money the rich have, the more money the poor will have.  It’s all very simple,” he said.   The man went on, “Sometimes I wish God didn’t make the wind blow so hard,”.  “You know, I have no control over God, although I’m working on that,”  he said with a laugh. The woman thought this was very funny and laughed so hard that her fur coat shook all over.  Decker thought she looked just like a Labrador retriever shaking itself after coming out of the water.  He tried to imagine what she would look like with a duck in her mouth and then he started to laugh too.  The woman thought he was laughing at the man’s joke and this made her laugh even louder.
The sun was beginning to set, but by this time Black and Decker knew they had learned every thing there is to know about food and how it is distributed.  With Black’s capable hands on the reins, the reindeer headed straight for the North Pole while Decker was busy typing up his report on his laptop computer.  Santa was delighted with Decker’s report.  If only he had known this years ago, helping poor people  would have been much easier.  Santa reached for the phone and called God.   God was very understanding and agreed to do what Santa  requested.
At precisely midnight on Christmas eve the wind started to blow.  It blew harder than it had ever blown before.  It blew from the north it blew from the east and it blew from the south and from the west.  No one had ever remembered there being so much wind before.  For the first time in history Santa was not out in the cold delivering food and clothing to needy people and toys to children.  He was snuggled in front of his fireplace with a glass of eggnog at his elbow, secure in his belief that the big wind would blow wealth and happiness to all the poor and dispossessed
“Surely this will be the best Christmas ever,” he said.