A Santa Claus Sighting From 40,000 Feet – Merry Christmas From George Thatcher!

The Real Santa Story

I’m not a “doubter” by nature.  At a very early age I learned to believe in the many miracles taught to me in bible stories.  I also swallowed, without even chewing, all those stories from Aesop and other mythological sources.  You could say that I was a true believer in every way, and much of it has carried over into my senior years, where I still want to believer that there are honest politicians, celibate priests, and budgets that somehow balance.

I guess you could say that, in many respects, I’m pretty much an average guy who really wants to believe in the innate goodness and brotherhood of mankind.  After all, God told us Himself that we are made in his “image and likeness.”  If that’s the case, how could we be anything but good?

At this special time of year, I even want to believe in Santa Claus, despite the scoffing of all you cynics out there.  It’s entirely possible that he loads up his sleigh with goodies every Christmas Eve, and goes charging across the skies, with eight reindeer as his power source.  Nor do I have a problem with Santa navigating his way to my very own rooftop, where he comes to a soft landing with the sleigh’s runners neatly balanced on either side of my sloping roof.  And yes, it’s entirely possible that he squirms down my chimney with my family’s presents neatly arranged in his port-a-pack.  He’s able to make himself smaller so as to fit in the smoke pot by a process of transmogrification.  If you don’t believe me, then you have never read Calvin and Hobbes.

But hold on a minute.  Along the way I learned to fly, mastering the principles or aerodynamics, aircraft engineering, and propulsion during my training.  It taught me that, in most cases, one needs a sleekly-designed ship with wings, control surfaces and a powerful engine to actually get into the air and remain there until reaching one’s destination.  Okay, so you could even make an anvil fly, it you strapped enough power to it, and that brings me to the concept of the flying sleigh.  Now your average sleigh doesn’t have any of the characteristics one would expect in a flying machine.  It’s built like a – well – sleigh, without engines or manifestations of of aeronautical stabilization.  So even a True Believer will have a struggle with the concept of an ordinary sleigh remaining airborne, much less being able to stagger off the ground/snow.  What is the magic device that enables Santa’s sleigh to fly, anyway?

Of course, I stumbled across the answer quite by serendipity.  It happens that I was flying an airborne alert mission one Christmas Eve over the polar icecap, when I received a radio call that there was an unknown flying object approaching from the north, at a remarkable rate of speed.  Alerting the crew to keep eyeballs peeled for something – anything – flying our way, we continued on our pre-planned route.  Then, in a flash, it appeared before us.  Yes, it was a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, heading south at a speed that our old B-52 couldn’t hope to match.  The lone occupant  of the sleigh was wearing an oxygen mark, as were the reindeer.  Our altitude was close to 40,000 feet and even Santa would have trouble breathing in air that rarified.  He passed us at about Mach 1.5, and disappeared into the southern-bound skies.

I wondered to myself, after switching to 100% oxygen, if I had just seen “The Man” or was it an illusion.  My copilot settled the issue by confirming that he has seen the very same thing.  Only one question remained unanswered:  what could have been the power source that enabled this non-machine to attain all that speed?  Then I noticed the contrails streaming back our way from where the sleigh had just traversed.  Eight of them, in all.  One for each reindeer.  I recalled having watched the tiny animals in flight, stretched out in a streamlined manner,  mouths wide open and hooves stretched out fore and rearward, to reduce drag on the craft, I supposed.  Small contrails (condensed, frozen ice crystals) streamed out from each reindeer’s hindquarters (okay, his butt) and billowed back, expanding in the thin arctic air.

Now I can’t say exactly what those reindeer had been eating to create such a powerful energy conversion.  One theory has it that the North Pole produces an unlimited supply of magic beans.  If that’s the case, we might as well quit drilling for oil and start farming the permafrost.  

So that’s what I observed with my very own, true-believing eyes.  I’ve become a huge fan of the power of flatulence, which I sincerely hope will become the energy source of the future.  I’m doing my own research these days, hoping to develop the perfect fart by mixing and matching various brands of beer.  It’s a job for the dedicated scientist, and one has to acknowledge that he will become a loner in the process.  

And to all a good night!

George Thatcher

Christmas 2022 

George is an American Bad Ass. He grew up in Jersey, flew B-52s in Vietnam, taught English, Spanish and other languages to children around the world, makes his own salsa, has been known to enjoy a beer or two and has called Lubbock home for a few years, just to entertain the locals. Welcome to Raiderland, Major. We are going to feature some of his writings going forward. Some new, some old. Some rhyme, some don’t. When it comes to George, there’s no box. So… enjoy our friend and enjoy his writings! – Hyatt