The following is a story about how Little Rudolph the reindeer learned how to fly with the help of Mokey the Bear and Buzz the Beaver in Clear Lake Manitoba.
After Christmas, Santa’s reindeers that worked so hard delivering presents around the world, spent the rest of the year enjoying warmer weather in Clear Lake Manitoba. They passed the time swimming in the lake, playing beach volleyball, eating at Mano’s Pizza and making smores by the fire pit at night.
While on their time off Donner and Blitzen had a beautiful baby boy who had been born with a big red nose and they named him Rudolph. Everyday on their walks they would stop by The Upper Cup to have coffee and show off their Little Rudolf to the Mistal family that owned Mano’s Pizza but also the best café in town. “He’s becoming a big boy” said Ron the owner of the café. "He sure is," said a proud Daddy Donner.
“I can’t wait to teach him how to fly!” Donner said, to which Blitzen replied, “he’s too little right now, but one day!"
The time to journey back to Santa’s had come. Before they began their journey the reindeers stopped in at The Upper Cup to fill up their travel mugs. Donner said to Blitzen, “should we wake the boy up and take him inside to say goodbye?” To which Blitzen said “I just checked on him and he’s snuggled into the blankets sleeping soundly.”
While waiting inside for their turn at the coffee counter, little Rudolph woke up and hopped out of the sleigh and wandered inside the café. All the reindeers had put in their orders for cappuccinos and café lattes all at once. Rudolf watched with delight as Daughter Krya was busy steaming milk, grinding beans, and serving up cookies. Suddenly something caught Rudolph’s nose! He could smell something amazing coming through the doorway at the back of the shop. He went to investigate.
Well, to his surprise he ventured through to Mano’s Pizza! “Oh my” he shouted, “what is that amazing smell?” he asked. Mum Sherry was behind the counter and shouted back to her daughter Amara who was working on making the pizza dough. “Amara come on out here, look who’s here, it’s Little Rudolph with his red nose so bright!” Amara kneeled to Rudolph’s level and answered his question. “This, little Rudolph, is the best pizza in the whole of Manitoba! Would you like to try a slice of our Classic Margherita?” Rudolph peeked around the corner to see all the reindeer still milling around the coffee counter, he turned back and said “oh! Yes Please!”.
It was the first-time little Rudolph had ever tried pizza and was in love!
He was so caught up in the devouring his pizza slice he didn’t notice all the reindeers going back outside. They stored all their travel mugs into the many cup holders in the sleigh and got harnessed up for their long journey back to Santa’s workshop. Daddy Donner said to Mum Blizten “did you check on our boy?” to which Blitzen responded, “he’s tucked himself down under the blankets and was sleeping soundly.” Ron did his safety check of the sleigh, they said their goodbyes and off they went, heading North.
Just then the side door at Mano’s Pizza opened and in walked Mokey the Bear. (His real name was Moksgm’ol which means “Spirit Bear” in his Tsimshian Language.) He was followed by his fishing buddy “Buzz” the Beaver. They shouted “hello Sherry! We’ve been out fishing all…morning and we didn’t catch a darn thing! And Mano! are we hungry!”
Little Rudolph had never seen a bear nor a beaver before and he immediately jumped up and introduced himself. “Hi I’m Rudolph, I’m going to grow up, big and strong and fly Santa’s Sleigh around the world, filled with presents for little boys and girls who haven’t been naughty… but just nice”. “That’s amazing,” said Mokey the Bear, "but I just saw a group of reindeers take to the sky, sleigh and all!"
“Oh no!” was Little Rudolph’s cry.
Little Rudolph takes lessons on how to fly.
Rudolph ran outside in fear that they had all gone, and not one reindeer was left in sight, except…him. The tears began to fall. Mokey and Buzz were watching at the window. They ran outside to comfort their new little friend Rudolph. “I’ll never get home now” he cried. “I don’t even know how to fly yet!” Mokey looked at Buzz and said "we can teach him, can’t we?"
“I know” said Buzz “let’s talk to Randy the Raven, he’s always squawking about how easy it is to fly!” “We can also talk to Debbie the duck! She’s a “quackin” good flyer too!” Said Mokey the Bear. So, they waved goodbye to Ron, Sherry, Kyra and Amara and went off to get lessons how to fly.
In the meantime, after a brief chat with each other the folks at The Upper Cup called up to Santa’s workshop and let them know that little Rudolph was safe, and sound and they would keep an eye on him until they were on their return flight tomorrow. Santa promised to pass the message when the reindeer arrived.
The trio of friends met up with Randy the Raven to look over the situation.
Randy the Raven squawked “that boys gonna need some wings if he is to learn how to fly!” So, they thought and thought and thought, where could they find wings to fly? “I know” said Mokey the Bear. “The Upper Cup has some patio umbrellas we could try one of those!”. Well, by the time they got back to the café, it was closed. They wrote a note to say they had borrowed a Spirit Bear Coffee umbrella and off they went to take their first flying lesson from Randy the Raven.
“Ok” said Randy the Raven “Climb up, as high up in the tree as you can." Mokey the Bear lifted Rudolph as high as he could in the tree. “Next, you will need to flap both sides of the umbrella quickly to gain flight.”
“Ok, got it,” said little Rudolph. With Randy the Raven, Mokey the Bear and Buzz the Beaver cheering him on he leapt into the sky flapping feverishly. And whoosh! The wind came up and up he went! But his flight was short lived, the umbrella became a parachute and down little Rudolph came, landing in the paws of Mokey the Bear.
“Well, I guess it’s off to see Debbie the Duck!” Announced Buzz the Beaver. The trio headed down to Clear Lake to find Debbie the Duck who surely could teach Rudolf how to fly.
They explained to Debbie the Duck what had happened when Rudolph jumped into the sky. Debbie the Duck said, “I think all you need to do is to get some speed up, watch me!” They watched Debbie the Duck flap her wings while running very fast across the water.
“There is no way little Rudolph could run that fast! Buzz the Beaver said, “but, I have an idea!"
"The Upper Cup also rents mountain bikes. He can build up the speed he needs and up he goes!” So, back to The Upper Cup they went. They picked out a bike for little Rudolph and left another note explaining what was going on.
“Here’s the plan” said Debbie the Duck “Little Rudolph is going to start where the Clear Lake pier begins and with his umbrella wings flapping, he will ride all the way to the end of the pier going faster and faster then whoosh! into the sky!” But this time Debbie the Duck would be taking off right beside him coaching and shouting instructions. Buzz the Beaver swam out the end of the pier to watch, Mokey the Bear took up a position on the shoreline.
Little Rudolph steadied himself on his borrowed bike, his umbrella wings started to flap slowly in the breeze and off he went! He peddled and he peddled, faster and faster and as the wheels got to the end of the pier the wheels took flight into the lake with a SPLOOSH! into the water followed by little Rudolph. Buzz the Beaver shouted, “hop on my tail little Rudolph” and little Rudolph climbed onto Buzz the Beaver's tail and back to shore they went.
Little Rudolph was very upset and shouted, “I am never gonna learn to fly!”
Rudolph finds his power to fly.
“We are losing day light” said Mokey the Bear “perhaps we can try again tomorrow, lets head to my Den for a good night’s rest!” They all agreed and headed off to spend the night with Mokey in the Bears Den.
Long before the sun would come up the folks at The Upper Cup were in, preparing for the day. Baking cookies and muffins and other breakfast treats. It was then they found the notes left by the trio of friends trying learning how to fly.
The phone rang and it was Santa calling to let Ron and Sherry know that when they were passing over tomorrow (Christmas Day) that they would stop in to pick little Rudolph up. He then passed the phone over to Daddy Donner and Mum Blitzen who then learned about all little Rudolph’s efforts to catch up with them, they were very proud of their little Rudolph and said they couldn’t wait to see him again.
They also agreed, it was time, time for little Rudolph to learn the secrete on how to fly.
Deep in Mokey the Bear's den they were all bundled in for the night. Little Rudolph though, was restless and unsettled and tried and tried to get some sleep. Finally, after tossing and turning little Rudolph decided to get some fresh air. As he left the den it was still quite dark out. Little Rudolph was still sad. He began to think about his mum Blitzen and dad Donner, and all his aunties and uncles Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, and Cupid.
As he was deep in thought, all of a sudden, he noticed the more he thought about the love he had for his family and how much he missed them, the brighter his nose became. Then he started to think about where they were and what they were about to do…start deliveries with Santa! The more he thought about them he realized that his feet were no longer on the ground! The harder he thought, the higher he flew!!! As he leaned to the right he flew right, as he leaned to the left, he flew left! Little Rudolf had found his power to fly!!!
He shouted out for Mokey the Bear, Buzz the Beaver, Randy the Raven and Debbie the Duck to come outside, as they left the den, they could not see him!
“Look up! Look up! Here I am!" And through the dark sky they could only see his nose so bright.
So bright that when he finally landed next to them, he lit up the whole ground. “How did you fly Little Rudolph?” Buzz the Beaver asked. “I started to think how much missed and loved my family and how much I wanted to fly with Santa for the first time and the next thing I knew, I was flying!” said little Rudolph.
As the sun came up the friends gathered up the “umbrella wings” and the bike they fished out of the lake and headed to the Upper Cup to return the items they borrowed and to show them how well little Rudolph could fly… and have breakfast.
As they waited for the café to open, they put the umbrella back in place and shined up the bike they had borrowed. When the café opened, they all rushed in and regaled them with the tales of how they tried to get little Rudolph to fly. Laughter filled the air!
Suddenly there was the faint sound of sleigh bells coming from the sky.
They rushed to the window to see Santa and his reindeers heading their way. The closer they came; the brighter little Rudolph’s nose glowed and before you knew it little Rudolph started to lift off the ground! It was happening!
It was then he knew he had to fly up to surprise them. He said his goodbyes and off he flew. They all went outside to wave him off and before long all you could see was his bright nose reaching the sleigh, circling the sleigh many times and then, Little Rudolph took up his new position at the front of the sleigh.
In the end it was all about loving one’s family and the thought about giving, that gives you the power to fly.
Written by Paul Biglin
Co-President of Spirit Bear Coffee Company
For his friends at The Upper Cup café
Clear Lake, Manitoba