I should've known something was amiss at the first “thump” on the roof.
Of course, I'm way past the age of believing in Santa Claus – I just turned fourteen years old this past summer. In that moment, however, all the stories I'd heard as a young one came to memory, and my heart skipped a beat.
A rustling noise echoed from the chimney. I strained to see in the dim light, gazing at the fireplace. A pile of white cloth bags dropped into the ashes, extinguishing the last few embers of that evening's fire.
Two eyes stared out from the fireplace, taking in the gloriously decorated room, and then the rest of the character appeared – a Santa suit clinging tightly to his figure. Unusual, I thought. No cherry red cheeks....more like a greenish glow....
He grinned devilishly, rubbing his hands together. Then he turned and grabbed the stack of bags. Taking one, he held it below the stockings tacked above the fireplace and swept them into the bag.
I stared in disbelief as he continued swiftly around the room, snatching every single decoration and present in the room and placing them in the bag. Wait a minute; this is no Santa! This is.... No – it couldn't be – ! The thought terrified me. I had heard of The Grinch living high in the mountains above Whoville, but legend had taught that he remained cloistered in his lair as a hermit. Few knew any solid facts about him.
With the room stripped bare now, excepting me in the corner, he bundled the bags and forcefully stuffed them up the chimney. Then he tiptoed to the kitchen with another stack of bags. I heard the cupboards opening and closing, and the quiet clinking of tin cans jostling in the bags. The refrigerator opened, and glass jars bumped up against the cans as well. A few moments later, the grinchy face reappeared, and several bags full of food disappeared up the chimney.
As he crept into the other rooms, I pondered a plan of action. Surely I needed to alert the Whos before the Grinch stole off with their entire Christmas! But how? Before I could formulate an idea, back he came with a full bag of loot, and up the chimney it went. He looked around the room briefly, then turned in my direction. Uh, oh....this is not good.
Grasping my trunk firmly, he lifted me from the floor and headed for the fireplace. My top brushed against the sooty walls of the chimney, as my bottom half struggled to clear the edge of the mantle. In desperation, I shook loose a red glass ball from one of my lower branches in the direction of the children's room. Cindy-Lou slept lightly – perhaps she would wake at the sound.
The Grinch grunted as he shoved, then paused as a soft cooing came from behind him. “Santy Claus, why? Why are you taking our Christmas tree? WHY?” Yes!!! Cindy-Lou had caught him red-handed!
To my disbelief, he spouted off some lie about one of my lights burning out and how he needed to fix it in his workshop. The nerve! And the gullible little two-year-old believed him. After tucking her back into bed, he doubled his efforts and thrust me up onto the roof.
I'll spare you the details of the rest of my harrowing night – Dr. Suess can explain it in much more eloquent language. I've described to him the events from my perspective for his research project – I think he's planning to write the story in poetry form.
To make my own story short, I ended up at seven in the morning tied to a sled at the top of Mt. Crumpit, dangling precariously off the snowy tip, before the Grinch had a change of heart. Ten thousand feet above the valley floor, he had a revelation that Christmas had more to do with the heart than all the “stuff” he had stolen.
Apparently I must stand a foot above my peers, because they selected me to stand in the main hall for the Christmas feast. I admit, it almost surprised me that they let him carve the roast beast, but the Whos do have forgiving hearts. As I adjusted my branches, the lights shone brightly in the cheerful room.
A song rang out, and the Grinch joined in the chorus. “Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!”
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