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Monday, February 1, 2016

Poppy's Tardy Yuletide Time Travel Enigma

I was awakened from deep meditation by an unusual sound. Vintage Western Electric telephone outrang my snores. I picked up: "Poppy, is it you?"
"Uh huh. Yes Geo., I need some advice."
"Poppy, you know I don't give advice --only suggestions--so we'll do this by the book."
"Ok (sniff)."
"Now, what is the nature of your temporal enigma?"
"I don't quite know. I'm not sure."
"Alright, where are you and when are you?"
"I'm in London. It's 1905."
"And what are you doing there?"
"Well, I was monitoring and sort of assisting Nellie Bly's 1887 journalistic effort,  'Trying to Be a Servant: My Strange Experience at Two Employment Agencies'."
"On view-screen, please Poppy."
"Ok, Geo. Here:"
"Yes, I see you Poppy."
"Then I tried going uptime 23 years to see how things turned out."
"Standard procedure. I believe the first labor exchanges in the UK opened in 1910. Good job!"
"Thanks, but there's a problem."
"Again, please describe the nature of..."
"Oh shut up! Look!
"Gosh, you're five years short and kissing Santa Claus. Tell me about it."
"Well, it's still February first but only four years short. Santa  --at least I think he's Santa-- had a problem in 1905."
"Poppy, I am all attention."
"Oh, I met him when he came down the chimney in the house I rented. He said his reindeer were stolen from the roof top. We fell in love. Then..."
"Poppy, I'm a bit surprised. Time travelers aren't supposed to get quite so involved."
"What should I do? Can you fix this, Geo.?"
"Hmm, perhaps. Is  he there? Is he with you now?"
"Uh huh."
"Put him on the phone."

"Hello?"
"Hello,  uh sir, I am Geo. and would like to ask a couple questions."
"Of course, but only two questions?"
"Two should suffice. What color are the eyes of your missing reindeer?"
"Blue."
"Hmmm. What color were their eyes six months ago?"
"Goldy-yellow, sort of."

"Thank you, Santa. Please get Poppy back on the line."

"Poppy?"
"Yes, Geo."
"Poppy, he's the real deal. I suggest you take him to Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, 1851, where a student author, whose name is given only as A. B., writes of the appearance, at a Christmas party, of  'that jolly... old elf, Santa Claus... and... Mrs. Santa Claus to help him.' That is the earliest reference I can find to his female companion." 

"We're on our way."
"And Poppy, do send me some sign of your progress."

There was a slight pause, then this appeared on the view-screen:
Only a true resident of the Arctic would so readily supply the little-known differences in reindeer eye-color from winter to summer. And of course, temporal regression to 1851 allowed all concerned to circumvent the theft of that magical team. From 1851, Poppy and Santa lived happily ever after --and even after that and, of course, before as well. Good thing, too --I like getting presents.




  


27 comments:

  1. So you made me curious about reindeer eyes, Geo., and - holy moly - you speak the truth! How interesting! And the article I found also says that reindeer eyes in a group of animals in Norway change to green, the theory being that there is more light in their environment and they don't go all the way to blue. Fascinating! (for anyone interested: https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/wild-things/reindeer-eyes-change-color-winter-darkness

    Where were we now? Yes, Poppy (aka Mrs Claus). Well done on that front, too. Behind every good man is a good woman. And apparently behind that particular good woman is another good man by the name of Geo. Thanks, all three of you, for all the dollies I got for Christmas throughout my childhood :)

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    1. O kind Jenny, I've been fascinated with animals since the summer the stoats turned brown. That is a good site you mention there --Science News is full of fun information.

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  2. I love a story with a happy ending. How nice of you to help Poppy and Santa get theirs.

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    1. Poppy's been single since she first appeared in this blog, didn't even have a gender for years. Married her off to Santa Claus by way of apology to her.

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  3. Well, aren't you the clever one? I didn't know that about reindeer eyes changing color. (So obviously I cannot be the real Santa... starting to look like him, though ...)

    Thanks for straightening out this mess for us, dude. We ALL enjoy getting presents.

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    1. We're all time travelers, Susan. You see a guy or gal and suddenly your future is clear as a bell. Happened to me in '68, I believe. Why not Poppy and Santy?

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  4. You learn something new every day.....reindeer eyes change colour....wow.

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    1. Eyes, fur, it's amazing, Delores. Uniquely patterned winter weasel fur was once used to trim the robes of royalty and clergy.

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  5. I wonder whether the reindeer in Antarctica (the only ones outside of zoos in the world which have not been irradiated) also have eyes which change colour.
    And thank you for the gift you gave the man who has given so many to so many of us.

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    1. Mrs. Santa had to come from somewhere. Appreciative imaginations have addressed the solution for centuries. It was just my turn.

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  6. Fascinating bit of knowledge re: reindeer eyes. Just fascinating.
    BTW Nellie Bly was really Elizabeth Jane Cochrane (Cochran) and was obviously a family hero. Her part of the clan were of the wing that moved first to Ireland before coming to Pennsylvania. The Scots wing of the clan came directly to Virgina. She was always a hero of mine and in fact one of the early founders of investigative journalism.

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    1. Oh my! Cochrane, Cochran, Cochrun, combined with your own distinguished career in journalism...I should have made the connection. Nellie Bly is a hero of mine too. To all wings of the clan that produced her, and you, my thanks.

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  7. I learn so much from your posts, Geo. I can't wait till next Christmas when at a cocktail party and standing in the corner, I can bring up the subject of raindeer's eyes with some other wall hanger and impress the hell out of him/her.

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    1. Dear Arleen, with or without the subject of reindeer eyes, I can't imagine you as anything less than fascinating at a cocktail party.

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    2. A little fine wine often make me think I am fascinating.

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    3. Same here. Too much wine makes me so fascinating I fall asleep.

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  8. Amazing! Even though I never doubt your expertise, I had to look this one up for confirmation. I had never before heard about reindeer's eyes changing colors....
    .....and no contact lenses were involved....

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    1. Nature plays some impressive tricks, Jon. I had been wanting to bring up that one in a post since recently reading about it. Fun!

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  9. As those readers before me (this time I was peeking, Geo.) I was not quite sure wether reindeers change their eyecolour. Looked it up - ah! And now, doubting Thomas I may be, I'm looking if you did a conjuror's trick - everybody stares at those reindeer's eyes - and whoops - something else is happening without us noticing it... female Santas maybe?

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    1. Dear Brigitta, I figured if anybody became Mrs. Santa she would have to be a time-traveler like Poppy, so I married her off. With 7 billion people in the world, we should extend equal opportunity to the North Pole.

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    2. That is the right spirit!
      Ah - and I forgot to mention that the Buddha in front of you looks beautiful!

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  10. You weave in interesting details such as the reindeer eyes and one of the earlier Santa artists... Just surprised there wasn't a coca-cola mixed, but I think their take-over of Santa didn't occur until the 19-teens.

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    1. Thanks, Sage. I prefer a non-carbonated Santa --so he could do his jolly laugh without expanding dangerously.

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  11. One thing/question: Has SC ever run into Odin out there wandering through the centuries? Does he have any Bridey Murphy-like memories of a previous life? I was wondering if Odin was cool with SC taking over his spot.

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    1. Mike, I suspect it wasn't Bridey-Murphyish. My theory is Odin just gradually became Santa, based on his remark about the two crows who kept him informed of the world --he worried about their safety: "I fear for Thought, but fear much more for Memory." Immortals suffer the same senior glitches that I do --who knows how little I would remember of myself in another thousand years?

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  12. Who knew? Geo. knew! I shall have to hie me to the local reindeer farm (yes, we have one in these odd parts) this Summer and look into their changed eyes!
    I'm not so sure you aren't a time traveler yourself...
    x

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    1. We're all time travelers together, Austan. In our latitudes, I suspect reindeer eyes have already reverted to gold. They only turn blue in incessant Arctic winter night. Maybe Nordic peoples' eyes change color too --can you imagine what they would put on their drivers licenses?

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