Race to Santa’s


 A Cathy and Janice Story

By Joe Pegasus

  Copyright © 2018 by Joe Pegasus

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All rights reserved.





Santa's Wonderland


On Your Mark, Ready, Set, RUN!






Little Birdie, Giant Critter


Short-cuts, Yep


Crazy Talk


Lot's Of Nothing


Good Time Charlie




Racers Meet




Elves At The Gate


Let Them Do What?


Wake, Jan, Wake Up!

About the Author


Cathy's Christmas Village

Listen To Letemdoit

If Mom Doesn't Do It

Get On The Train

Do It When I Can

Erin Befriends Critter Bear

So Long, Losers

Heart Worried Over You

Janice Wins Foot Race

Straight to Wonderland

Jan Wishes Daddy A Good Night

Good Time Charlie

Sandman Visits Janice

Christmas Carolers


Charlie Meets Cathy and Doodles

She Always Wears Her PJs

Girls Are Led Astray

This Way And That Way

Not There Yet?

Map Of Wonder Land

Look Like A Christmas Tree

Hard Running

Santa's Bakery Shoppe

A Christmas Choir

A Worried Cathy


Critter Bear Attacks

Where They Are Now

Dan Marino And John Elfway

Doodles And Cathy

Wonderland Train

Little Girls Lost

Battle For Wonderland

Little Birdie Tells

Wake Up, Janice!

Karma Looks For Janice

Mother Rita

Critter Bear

Joe Pegasus and Girls

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1. Santa’s Wonderland

For you to grow and become the very best person ever, you need to follow the steps others have taken to grow into people we all look up to and admire. To go straight to your dreams will often find you running along crooked roads.

On this night filled with wonder and surprise we find our little ladies in the living room where Cathy has made it a tradition to build a Christmas village every year. Atop a huge table their father had assembled Cathy, little by little and year by year created a winter scene. The best part being, like a crown jewel high above the village was Christmas Mountain, Santa’s Wonderland. On Thanksgiving morning the family gathered at the Christmas village to place a little figurine of Santa Claus into the Castle Cathy had in Santa’s Wonderland.

Cathy worked hard to place small people and houses in the right spots while her little sister Janice and her teddy bear, she named Critter Bear, stood by and watched Cathy work away.

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“I don’t understand,” Janice wondered. ”Why do you work so hard on this village?”

“It’s a labor of love,” Cathy smiled and said. “I make my village better and that makes me better.”

Janice thought on those words for a moment. She had no Christmas village of her on to fuss with, but she did have her Critter Bear. “So you mean, if I take good care of Critter Bear, that will make me a better girl?”

“I’ll bet you a million dollars Critter Bear will think you’re the best.”

Again Janice pondered on what Cathy talked about. There were all kinds of things going on in her big sister’s life nowadays. Cathy always seemed grown up to Janice yet day by day and Christmas time after Christmas time she changed in ways which sometimes puzzled Janice. It seemed that as the Christmas village grew new houses, bridges, stores and scenes of children playing in the snow, Cathy added things to her self like adding charms to a bracelet.

“And lately you’re putting makeup on your face and doing your hair different ways.”

“Sure beats how you manage your hair, Jan.”

“Well, you know that's a lot of fuss. If mom doesn’t do my hair, it just looks like a porcupine.” The girls laughed and giggled even as Janice did think there had to be an important message in what Cathy had to say. Exactly what that message meant, she did not know for sure. Instead she and Critter Bear carefully sat on the edge of the village, just alongside where Cathy had laid a rail road track for a toy train. Janice sat silent and watched over the village and her sister’s work.

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“You must learn to do better, Jan.” Cathy commented while she stuffed her head inside the Christmas village cabinet. “You don’t want to grow up only to be a Good Time Charlie.”

“What’s a Good Time Charlie?”

“Always out for a good time. A person who pays no attention to chores or doing your best. Does that sound like a little sister I know?”

“I do good most of the time,” Janice pouted. “I do my best a lot of the times, you know, when I can.”

“I agree,” Cathy giggled into the crowded space under the cabinet. “Little by little you will learn how to get the important things in life just right.”

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“Sometimes I do really right. Like when I won that race we ran this morning.” Janice boasted about a foot race the girls had in the park. Janice had won that race by a long shot. She could hardly believe it. Before they started to run, Janice thought she could win against Karma, maybe come in close to Erin, but against her long-legged sister and Doodles That she figured she had no chance at all. So she ran as fast as she could and did win the first race she ever won in her life! Janice felt very proud of herself.

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But not everything in life is as it seems, even when things go your way. When things do not make sense it probably does not make sense; like when Janice with the shortest legs wins a race against girls with legs as long as she is tall.

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“You sure did run your little heart out,” Cathy laughed. “A few times in life people will let you win.”

“And I sure did win that race!” Janice roared.

“Sure did,” Cathy smiled. “Let that be a lesson for you, Jan. When you do your best, you will often get what you need in life.”

Janice thought about what Cathy said. Finally she asked of her big sister, “You know, sometimes, Cath, I try very hard but I don’t win. What you say is not always true. Trying does not always win the race.”

Cathy patted her little sister’s hand and sweetly said, “Do as I say, Jan. It is not always winning that

matters; just running makes it all worth while. Besides you cannot even win if you do not try.”

Janice shook her head yes because it is true. “All this thinking and watching you work has made me get sleepy. I’m going to bed.”

“Then tomorrow on Thanksgiving morning the whole family can watch me put Santa in his castle at Wonderland.”

Janice asked, “May I put him in his castle?”

“Only if you return to this exact spot before I do in the morning.”

“Oh!” Janice laughed. “I’m in another race to be here in the morning before you: A race to Santa’s Wonderland!”

Cathy pointed to the gates of where Santa’s castle rose high above the village. She said, “You be here before I put Santa in Wonderland tomorrow and I’ll let you do it. You will have won two races in two days!”

Very tired Janice yawned then started off to bed dragging little Critter Bear along with her. She took a short-cut to her room. It brought her past where her father watched a football game on TV. Janice never really like the game of football much at all. She thought the game too rough even for big, strong boys. But she always loved saying good night to her Dad. So she took the time to do it.

She found her dad waving a fist at the TV; filled with complaints about the football players. “Not like the good old days,” he growled. “What ever happened to the greats? Montana, Dan Marino; the best players of all time like John Elway?”

Janice giggle at her dad’s involvement in the game. She came to the end of the sofa and that distracted her father. Janice kissed him good night. She stayed just long enough to say, “That’s a silly game. Pick up the ball, run with it, fall down, get up and start all over again.” Janice and her father laughed. Before moving on to bed, she said, “You grow -ups sure are strange.”

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      2.On Your Mark, Ready, Set .... RUN!

Janice had just got herself cozy and comfy under her covers when, from the corner of her eye she spotted a dark figure. Janice popped up and out of the covers. She gave out a sudden gasp at who she saw. There before her, right there on her bed sat the sand man! The creature of the night quickly put a finger to its lips, “Hush!,” the sand man said, “be silent. You must get up and follow me right now. Right away!”

Janice had no idea what to do. She felt sure she never met the sand man before yet she did know this had to be him. Why? She had no idea about that either. So as the sand man dashed for her bedroom window Janice followed.

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The sand man said nothing but drew the curtain aside and pointed down into the back yard. Janice slowly stepped to the window and could not believe what she saw in her yard. Waving and calling up at her were two excited little girls – Karma and Erin! Janice turned to ask why they were there but the sand man had vanished.

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“Get down here, Jan!” The girls called. “Get out here fast as lightning!” And fast as lightning Janice flew down stairs and out into her back yard to join her friends.

Erin grabbed Janice and began to drag her through the yard when Karma stopped them. “Erin,” she complained. “Janice cannot race in her pajamas.”

Erin stood still and looked Janice over from head to toe. “She always wears her PJs.” Erin giggled. “But, you are correct. We need some Christmas magic.” And upon her words Janice suddenly found herself fully dressed. Nobody seemed to be amazed at all. It was that kind of perfect magic!

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“What race?” Janice asked.

This time both Erin and Karma grabbed Janice as they ran from the yard. “We have to beat Cathy and Doodles to Santa’s Wonderland to get Santa into his castle.”

She suddenly stopped in her tracks to say, “But Cathy said that’s not until tomorrow, girls.”

Again her friends pushed her onward. Erin cried out loud, “If you don’t hurry your little self, we won’t even be there by tomorrow – hurry up, Jan, we must run straight to Santa’s Wonderland!”

No sooner had Janice started to run along with them when she stopped again. This time she froze like an ice cycle. She could not believe her eyes. There she stood in a life size world of the Christmas village while Erin and Karma ran on into the crooked streets that go this way and that way all the way to Christmas Mountain and Santa’s Wonderland.

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3. Letemdoit

Pronounced: Let ‘em do it

So as not to be left behind, Janice started after the girls. She knew she came last among the three girls but, as she caught up with Karma, she wondered how far they were behind Cathy and Doodles. “Where is Cathy now?” She cried. Without stopping for a second, Karma and Erin called, “Up there!”

Janice looked up at a hill behind large houses. There stood Cathy and Doodles. They were ahead but not that far away to be seen clearly. “Oh, golly gee!” Janice thought. “Those girls are made up like Christmas presents. All they need is bows atop their heads!” They were not running as hard as Janice, Erin and Karma, but they walked at a brisk pace. The little girls had the race still ahead of them and some hard running to catch up with Cathy and Doodles That.

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They ran as fast as their feet would take them from where they began and into a part of the village where a choir sang from a stage in the middle of a village square. The sound of the singing slowed Janice to a stop. Besides, her feet had enough of the race. She needed a break. Janice stood in front of the stage to listen.

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At the other end of the stage, walking back and forth as if lost was a little green thing with a silly hat. Janice did not give it too much notice because the choir took all her attention. But soon the green thing walked over to her. At first it just stood next to her. When Janice stole a glance down at it the green thing said, “You watch them sing, yep?”

Janice looked fully on the thing. It looked kind of like a big, bull frog with one of those hats airplane pilots wore in old time movies. Like that, but with a green pony tail and a pair of silly looking short pants. On the front of the pants it wore a round clock with no time-telling about it. “Hello,” Janice greeted the frog-like thing. “I do enjoy listening to them sing.”

“So you listen and do not watch, yep?”

Janice pouted her lips. This frog talked in circles like people on the TV news. She turned to it and asked who it might be. “I am Letemdoit.” It smiled without teeth. “Yep, that’s who I am because I let them do it.”

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She had no idea how to respond to Letemdoit. She just said, “Hello, I’m Janice. And I also like watching a choir sing.”

“Yep,” Letemdoit said in a tone that sounded like he discovered an important truth about the girl. “You like to watch and listen. That’s like me too, yep. Watch and listen but never perform on stage or sing.”

“Oh!” Janice reacted to the frog’s observation. “I like to get up in front of people and sing too.” Letemdoit looked up at her as if surprised by what she told him. Those crazy eyes made her think Letemdoit did not believe her. So Janice said, “Really, my sister and friends put on make-believe shows all the time.”

Letemdoit looked all around then said, “Does not seem like you are on a stage with your friends singing a song.”

“Not now, silly,” Janice cried.

“Yep, you are not on a stage or in a choir.” Letemdoit pointed at the stage and at the choir. “It seems that you let them do it so you seem to be doing nothing, yep.”

“I’m not doing nothing. I’m in a race to Santa’s Wonderland.”

“Doesn’t seem like you are.”

“I am. I am. Even if you think it does not seem so.”

“It seems like you allow this choir to sing and perform on stage. Yep, that’s what it all seems like to me.”

“You sound like Doodles That ... she’s always saying, ‘that’s all there is to that’.”

A long pause came between them. They both seemed to take a moment to listen to the performers on the stage. Until Letemdoit asked, “Wonderland, you say? Yep, I heard you say Wonderland. I know where Santa’s Wonderland is.”

Janice glanced passed the village court. Suddenly she realized all her friends ran so far ahead of her they could not be seen. “Oh, my stars, I’ve lost my friends!”

“In that race you spoke of?” Letemdoit commented.

“Yes,” Janice answered then started to where she last saw Karma and Erin running off.

“Wait,” Letemdoit called to her. “Why worry and upset yourself, little girl? Let them run the race down all these crooked and windy roads. It seems so nice here listening to the song. Yep, it does seem so nice.”

Janice just kept running as she cried, “You crazy frog, I have to beat Cathy and Doodles to Santa’s Wonderland.”

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“Yep, just let them do it.” Letemdoit cried back at Janice. “And besides, do you even know where Wonderland is?” That caught her attention. She stopped dead in her tracks. She had no idea in which direction to run. It seemed as if Janice stood completely lost somewhere in the Christmas village.

Letemdoit walked over to where she stood. Janice frowned; she almost cried real tears. Where is she and in what direction should she run off in? “Yep, you’re lost.” Letemdoit flatly said. “But it just seems that way, little girl. You just need a guide to guide you on a guided path, yep. And if you’re smart you’ll let me be your guide. I can direct you to Wonderland, yep. And you have no need to run and get all croaked up. I know all the short-cuts, yep.”

Janice felt saved. She thanked Letemdoit but hurried the frog along because time was being wasted. “Yep,” Letemdoit announced then started off in a direction not headed toward the hill where her sister and Doodles That had been or along the street Karma and Erin ran off along. Letemdoit guided our little Janice away from the choir, the houses and the entire town. Off in a direction our little Janice would not have followed. She paused until Letemdoit saw her fear but reminded her, “Short-cut, my dear, follow your guide. Let the others run off this way and that. Your guide will take you straight to Santa’s Wonderland, Yep.”

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4. Meanwhile

All because Cathy and Doodles followed a road high above the other girls they could see what went on down below. They lost watch of Erin and Karma; those two ran among a lot of houses and trees. Cathy smiled as she watched Janice lag behind everyone. “We have this in the bag,” Cathy cheered. “Better said: We have this in Santa’s Christmas bag!”

“And that’s all there is to that,” Doodle That jumped and cheered as well.

Cathy put on lip stick then motioned for them not to get so excited. The race had yet to be won. “We have a comfortable lead, Doodles. But if we drag our feet, we might not win the race to Santa’s Wonderland.”

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“We will win all the same, right?”

“Of course, I built this village. I know every single inch of it.”

Doodles That smiled. She thought her friend Cathy to be so smart. Then she thought again, “Doesn’t Jan know this village too. She is your sister and always around it.”

Cathy giggled. “And she never helps build it. Jan is a girl who let’s the world pass her by. Just like we will pass her by in this race.”

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5. Little Birdie, Giant Critter

Erin and Karma had ran past a rental booth for Skates and Sleds then stopped short when they saw a pop corn machine man happy to sell them some. A choir nearby too and that made them realize the last time they saw Janice another choir sang. They forgot all about pop corn and took fright when they realized Janice had vanished.

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“My stars, Erin!” Karma cried. “We lost Jan or she lost us.”

Erin looked right, left, up and down. “It sure looks that way.”

“What shall we do, Erin? What shall we do?”

Both girls took a little time to seek out Janice, but she could not be found. Erin finally decided they had but two choices. “We need to find her or get back in the race to Santa’s Wonderland.” Karma did not like the idea of leaving Janice behind. “Don’t worry,” Erin added. “She will either find us or meet us at Wonderland.”

That did not appear to calm the younger girl. “A little birdie tells me we should wait here for Jan. She has to pass this area to go further.”

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Erin did not care for Karma’s feelings about their predicament. Not only could she sit around and wait but Karma’s talking about a little birdie struck her as plain old crazy talk. It’s not the first time the girl used that expression: Little birdie. And it probably will not be the last. “You and your birdies,” she mumbled. “There is no bird anywhere around. You have birds singing in your head.”

“Do not be unkind, Erin my friend.” Karma flatly stated. She stepped away from the older girl to peek around the pop corn man for Janice. She turned her back at Erin and pleaded. “Give me just five minutes to look around; Jan cannot be that far away. Please, Erin.”

Erin wanted to move forward in the race but Karma’s plea touched her heart. Saying she understood, she also took a moment to look for Janice.

Erin back tracked a few yards toward the rental booth while Karma walked past a foot bridge. The girls moved back an forth and looked high and low. Once in awhile one would call out for Janice then the other girl did too. Both girls stayed close to the area they were in by the pop corn man, the choir and the rental booth for skates and sleds. Still they did not see Janice or hear her call back at them. So Karma started to drift further away as she searched for her friend. Erin too roamed past the booth and peered all around.

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Little they knew they were very close to where Janice found herself at a train station with a strange frog; a talking frog telling about guides and short-cuts

Had they been one level lower in the Christmas village and had Janice kept her ears wide open to listen for them, all three girls would had found each other.

Then Erin looked way back from where they had come. Earlier they had come through an alley alongside the movie house so she walked back into the alley. Spooky as could be especially when she stood there all alone. So quiet the alley loomed that Erin pushed the silence away by again calling out for Janice.

But her friend did not answer. Erin got half way through the dark alley when she decided to turn back around and catch up with Karma. When she turned her heart jumped into her throat with fright!

There blocking her way out of the alley stood a big, humongous, gigantic critter. Critter the teddy bear but a hundred, million, thousand times the size of Janice’s little Critter Bear. Erin screamed so loud it shook the walls of the movie house. She began to run so fast when the bear called out to her.

“Don’t be afraid, little girl!” The monster acclaimed as it lowered itself toward Erin. But our little girl surely felt very afraid. Erin shivered like she had icicles wrapped around her on a very cold day.

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6. Short-cuts, Yep

All Janice could say was that where Letemdoit brought her to she had seen before. “This is the train station in Cathy’s Christmas Village.”

“Yep,” cried the small thing. “That train over there is the Wonderland Express. See? Yep, that’s the fastest way to get to where we need to go.”

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“Oh, golly gee, thank you, Letemdoit. You are the best guide in the world.”

“I think so. Yep, I do.”

Janice turned away and started to quickly walk away. “Where are you going, Jan? The train waits over here.”

“I must get Karma and Erin.”

“What for?”

“To join us.” Janice thought the frog impolite not to have the girls board the train with them.

“Don’t bother,” Letemdoit boldly declared. They are far away by now. Maybe they are already there.” The frog announced. “Yep, if anything, it is you who needs to catch up with them.” Janice wondered if Letemdoit may be correct about that. The frog saw that Janice had been torn between getting the girls or taking the train without them. “Yep, they are a ways from here. And, besides, the train is about the leave.”

Janice had no idea what to do but the frog played the role of her guide and did get her this far. So Janice returned to her happy, hopeful self and decided to follow the frog as they stepped onto the train headed for Santa’s Wonderland.

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7. Crazy Talk

All Erin wanted to do right now would be what any little girl might think to do when a big, humongous, gigantic Critter Bear has you trapped in a dark alley – RUN! Run as fast and hard as you can.

“Calm down, silly little girl, the big, humongous, gigantic teddy bear cried down to Erin. It flopped down like teddy bears sit under a Christmas tree or, in this situation, how a teddy bear sits at the entrance to the alley. “Don’t be afraid of me. You know me, we’re friends, and I’m Critter Bear, Jan’s favorite teddy.”

“But you’re ... you’re ... big, humongous, and gigantic.”

“On the contrary, you’re small, tiny, and microscopic. I’m very much the size I have always been.”

What Critter had said struck Erin because it had to be true. She stood in an alley in Cathy’s Christmas village. Of course, she must be small, tiny, and microscopic. “See?” Critter Bear smiled down at the little girl. “Now, come over here and sit on my lap. Tell me why I find you in a dark alley in the Christmas village.”

Erin did as Critter Bear instructed. Suddenly she felt unafraid in the teddy’s lap, so furry and soft, made her relax and even cuddle the big, humongous, gigantic teddy bear. Once Erin had settled into Critter Bear’s soft fur, Erin replied to the bear’s question. “I’m looking for the gal who owns you.”

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Critter chuckled like a squeeze toy but louder. “ I know where she is,” the teddy cried. “I’m her bear, I always know where my owner is!” Erin gazed up at the big bear. She wanted to ask where but she got lost in the chuckle Critter Bear made. The sound could make you laugh too yet Erin knew that sound, if you squeezed Critter Bear slowly, it may make you feel sad and lonely. Squeeze it very fast and its squeak will make you jump from alarm.

Finally Erin did ask and Critter Bear told her, “She’s with Letemdoit on the Wonderland Express.”

Erin looked completely puzzled. “What? Who in a patch of four leaf clovers is Letemdoit and what’s the Wonderland Express?”

Critter chuckled even more this time before he explained what Janice had been up to. “That lazy Letemdoit will get Jan to Santa’s Wonderland but she will not see much or learn anything on that train.”

“She will get there before you can so you and Karma had best be on your way. Jan will get there before you but she will not have the adventure you two will have.”

Erin like most kids enjoyed adventures, yet she knew they had best get back in the race or who knows what will happen to Janice all alone in Santa’s Wonderland with a crazy, lazy frog?

She thanked Critter Bear then ran off to find Karma. She did not have to go far before she saw her friend at the edge of a cliff over looking the train tracks with the Wonderland Express zooming away into a dark tunnel.

Karma shouted when she saw Erin. “Where have you been? My heart and head worried over you so much!”

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Erin hugged little Karma. “It’s OK, I was just over by the movie house and I &ldots;” Suddenly she stopped talking. Karma looked up at her as if asking for more. But Erin only made a squishy face. Did she really want to tell Karma that she had met a big, humongous, gigantic Critter Bear that told her Janice rode on a train along with a crazy frog. Especially after thinking Karma nutty for mentioning a little birdie.

“I’m sure I know where Jan is, Karma. Let’s get back into the race to Wonderland because Jan may already be there.”

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8. Lots Of Nothing

“Only darkness out there,” Janice said filled with disappointment. “Nothing good about going to Santa’s Wonderland if I can’t see where I’m going?”

Letemdoit hopped from chair to chair on the train they rode through complete darkness. “Best short-cut you can take. Goes right under the Christmas village straight to Wonderland.”

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Janice tried as she might but saw nothing more than her own reflection in the window. “So the only thing I can learn about the short-cut to Wonderland happens to be nothing except that a short-cut exists?”

“Yep, what more do you need to know.”

“What are we passing through? What’s going on out there? What are the girls and my sister doing right now?”

“Oh, who cares?” The frog kept hopping around the train. “Watch me hop to and froth, back and forth. What more than that do you need, silly little girl. Relax, we’ll be in Wonderland very soon. Yep, soon.”

Janice sat very unhappy and stared out the window at a lot of nothing. “Even the short-cut to my room thrills me a lot more than this ride. At least that had pictures on the wall. One of my family, one of my mom’s house, and others too.”

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9. Good Time Charlie

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Doodles That followed closely behind Cathy through the crowded streets of the Christmas village. “Look up there, Doodles, we can see the gate to Santa’s Wonderland near the end of this street.” Cathy pointed out the gate. Big and bright and not very far away at all.

Close to where they stood 4 carolers sang ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas.’ A well dressed blue colored man led the singers like a conductor to a big band. The girls did not actually notice him. He saw them first and watched after them. Because a large horse and sleigh slid down the street toward them, the girls screeched then moved back and closer to where the carolers sang. Seeing this, the conductor waved his hand in order to bring the girls closer to where the carolers sang. But the two did not notice him. They only watched as the horse slowed then stopped the sleigh. It stood still in the snow. Unafraid, they started to walk down the street again toward Wonderland.

Doodles That found herself singing along with the carolers. Cathy laughed and joined in too.

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Soon the girls sang in concert with the others. As they sang they stepped closer. Soon they followed the lead from the blue man and that area of the Christmas village rang out in song. It made for such a magical moment.

The blue conductor led them through another song then another. Everyone took a break as the blue man walked over to Cathy. “Merry Christmas,” he said. Then he bowed deeply like he had just met a queen. “I am Good Time Charlie. And who may you two beautiful princesses be?”

The girls giggled. Doodles That bowed too, but not so low as Good Time Charlie while Cathy bobbed a curtsy to him.

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“I am Cathy Blom and this is my dear friend Doodles Trip.” Cathy introduced. “But everyone calls her Doodles That. You can call her just plain old Doodles.”

“It would be my honor,” Good Time Charlie answered as he stood up. “Tell me, Miss Cathy and Miss Doodles, where are you lovely ladies off too?”

They explained to the blue man all about the race to Santa’s Wonderland. He listened carefully to every word. When the girls finished, he asked, “Are you ahead of these other 3 girls?”

“By a mile!” Cathy bragged.

“More than that,” Doodles That added.

Good Time Charlie took Cathy’s hand and waved his other hand like he waved on the carolers and said, “Then no hurry, my queens, allow me to show you around the village before you must continue the race.”

Cathy giggle and even blushed a bright red. But Doodles That thought it a bad idea. “Cathy needs no showing around she’s&ldots;” Doodles That was about to tell Good Time Charlie that Cathy knew the village very well, thank you! But then Cathy silenced Doodles That with a cold stare and a finger to her lips.

“I think that’s a great idea, Mr. Good Time Charlie.” Cathy smiled and followed him down a windy street that did not go straight to Wonderland. She grabbed Doodles’ hand and the three of them were off to an adventure.

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10. Meanwhile

On the Wonderland Express somewhere under the Christmas village. Letemdoit hopped all around the train car while Janice just starred out the window. But nothing could be seen because the tunnel had no lights inside it. Janice could do nothing but sit and wait. And wait. And wait. Even if she could jump around like the frog, there would be no fun in that either.

But, like Letemdoit said, they surely will get to Wonderland before the other girls.

Just not yet.

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11. Racers Meet

No sooner had Erin and Karma turned the next corner when they spotted Cathy, Doodles That and Good Time Charlie coming right at them. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks. “Fairies sitting on a four leaf clover!” Erin blurted out. “Is this our Cathy?” She had never seen Cathy with makeup on. “You look like a Christmas tree, girl!”

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The older girls had no answer but did ask about Janice. Erin explained how Janice dropped behind and now no one knew where she had gone. “We must find her immediately,” Cathy cried. She directed everyone toward Christmas Mountain

But Good Time Charlie stopped them. “She can’t be far along,” he assured. “Look there’s a bakery right here. Let’s all have pastries.”

Cathy thought that a bad idea, however Erin, Karma and Doodles That’s empty tummies agreed with Good Time Charlie. “One little pastry will not take up too much time, “Karma shyly said.

“Might give Jan time to catch with us,” Good Time Charlie said.

“Unless Jan is way ahead,” Cathy complained.

Doodles That finally replied, “Then she is already there and we can take our time. And that’s all there is to that.”

So against Cathy’s wishes everyone followed Good Time Charlie into the bakery. Miss Baker smiled as wide as her lips would stretch as she watched so many customers file into her shop, “Come and buy my sweet pastries, everyone!” She cheered out. Starting with Good Time Charlie each and every person cried out for their favorite pastry. Except Cathy. She spent most of her time near the store’s door looking out for her little, lost sister.

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While Miss Baker handed out her tasty treats, she asked, “What brings so many travelers into my sweet shop?”

“Just looking for a good time,” Good Time Charlie announced.

“Cathy called from the door, “Actually, waiting on my sister Jan.”

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“Miss Baker asked, “Where is sister Jan?”

Erin remained quiet about what she knew. Doodles That spoke next, “ She, and the rest of us, are on our way to Santa’s Wonderland.”

And Karma added, “To place Santa in his Christmas Castle.”

That sparked a bomb shell; much to the little girls’ surprise! Miss Baker suddenly stopped everything she had been doing. Good Time Charlie froze as well just like a snowman on a very cold day. “What are you saying?” He asked Karma directly.

Karma replied, “We are racing to Wonderland to put Santa in his Castle. To see who gets there first.”

“Oh, my stale donuts!” Yelled Miss Baker at the top of her lungs. “Santa’s not in his castle? This is the worse thing ever. EVER!”

“EVER!” Cried Good Time Charlie also.

Cathy suddenly jumped when a big and powerful voice shattered the store’s window from the outside. “Worse thing ever!” It roared. And when everyone in the bakery turned to see what was the matter, they all screamed in fear. Except Erin, she jumped on top of a table. Waving her hands to clam everyone down. She called out loud, “Relax, relax, that’s just Critter Bear. He won’t harm anyone.” But no one other than Erin seemed to believe it.

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This time Critter Bear cried out what Miss Baker had said, “Santa Claus is not in his castle.” The bear said it so loud that all of the Christmas village heard it.

From every corner of the village all kinds of people and animals appeared, especially elves. Not dainty, round little elves you see in cartoons. Nope, these elves were dressed like football players ready to tackle anyone in their paths. They felt it their duty to save Santa. To return the jolly old elf to his rightful place in Santa’s castle. The head elf named Montana shouted orders out to another elf named Marino and another named Elfway to charge Christmas Mountain.

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Instantly everyone emptied the bakery, Good Time Charlie and Miss Baker too. Only our four heroines remained to watch all the others take off in a cloud of dust.

While the girls looked out the broken window at everyone running away, Karma munched on a jelly donut and said, “Looks like no one standing in this room will get to Wonderland first.”

The girls appeared dismayed. But Doodles That only giggled and said, “So that’s all there is to that.”

Cathy quickly added, “But not if Jan is there before those people get there..” Then like four and twenty black birds baked in a pie the girls flew from the shop and off toward Christmas Mountain. The race changed to be no longer against all of the friends but against everyone else too.

And no one, besides you and me, knows where Janice is right now . If you need a reminder where, just turn to the next page.

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12. Meanwhile

Somewhere under Christmas Mountain Janice and her guide rode the Wonderland Express ... like forever.

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13. Elves At The Gates

Montana and his team of battle ready elves dashed all things aside while they entered the gates to Wonderland. Piles of snow flew this way and that way. The two tall guards at the gates just stood, afraid to stop the onslaught of the gate crashers. Worse yet, Critter Bear stepped hard and heavy right along with the marching elves. An elf named Freddie climbed the gates and waved to his fellow elves down below. “Stop! Stop! You’ll knock down the gates and ruin everything!.” But no one paid Freddie any mind at all. Even the man in the moon looked down terrified upon the battle at the gate to Wonderland.

The girls had caught up with the others. They had never seen such a scene of mass destruction as when Critter Bear crashed right through Wonderland’s gate. “Oh , my unlucky starts!” Karma cried. “I do pray my little friend Jan is not in there.”

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14. Let Them Do What?

Janice awoke from the sound of the Wonderland Express pulling into Wonderland’s train station. Letemdoit hopped around like a Mexican jumping bean. The frog shouted, “Yep, we’re here. We’re here, little girl. We beat everyone to Santa’s Wonderland and we didn’t even have to move a muscle. Yep, not even one little finger.”

“Finally,” said the tired eyed Janice. She stretched then yawned. “Let’s get off this train and go put Santa in his castle.”

“Why bother,” Letemdoit replied. “Your friends will come and do it for you.”

Angry Janice had just enough from this Letemdoit frog. “Listen, you green hopping thing,” she gripped, “I haven’t been sitting on this train forever to not win the race to Santa’s Wonderland before my sister and friends. Now I’m going to find Santa and put him where he belongs!”

Letemdoit got really quiet after Janice scolded him. The frog pointed the way off the train. Because it arrived under Christmas Mountain they needed to climb a hundred million stairs to enter Santa’s Wonderland.

Once they arrived, a very unpleasant scene exploded before their eyes. The battle at the gate had entered Wonderland! All kinds of stuff flew up and down, this way and that. Elves rushed all around like chickens with no heads. Everyone screamed, “Got to get Santa in his castle!” Janice had no idea what to make of it all. She looked down at Letemdoit. The frog just smiled and said, “Yep, see? You want to get into that mess, little girl? Let them do it.”

Suddenly it looked like everyone in Wonderland started to yell right at Janice. They all turned at her, shouting as they stepped closer to her. Critter Bear, looming big as a monster moved quickly into Janice’s face. “Put Santa in his castle,” the bear roared. “Time to put Santa in his castle!” It frightened Janice. She started to think Letemdoit had a good point. Even louder than the bear, Janice could hear sister Cathy shouting too.

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15. Wake Up, Jan, Wake Up!

”Wake up, Jan! Wake up, time to put Santa in his castle.” Cathy stood at Janice’s bedside waving the teddy bear right in her sister’s face.

Janice jumped right out of her dream. She screamed. But felt happy the dream had gone.

That do-nothing frog did nothing but nothing. That endless train ride to a stupid fight. Janice smiled to think she’d soon forget that dream.

“Get up, silly, it’s Thanksgiving morning,” Cathy took the bear out of Janice’s face. She handed it to the little dreamer. “Come on, everyone’s down stairs ready to put Santa in his castle.”

Janice took Critter Bear and hugged the bear. She whispered to Critter Bear, “Yep, Let them do it. And this time they’ll all do it with me!”



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Christmas village by the real Cathy

Interior bakery images from Importico Bakery and Café

Images of Dan Marino, John Elway and Joe Montana copied from Internet search.

 Dedicated to

My Mom
Rita Rosina Krenkle Auricchio

All the Cathy and Janice Bedtime Stories were
originally Christmas cards made for her.




Joe Pegasus and his wife Cathy live a retiring lifestyle in McCormick, South Carolina along with Cathy’s younger sister Janice. They sing and write about country life ... all the live-long day.

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