Rudolph Still Rockin’ It at Fifty!
By Bonnie Wurst – mtltimes.ca
Every holiday season since December 6th, 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has rocked television screens around the globe in broadcasts of the beloved Rankin-Bass animated Christmas special. And apparently Rudolph still has a very shiny nose. Only now he also has arthritis. He still is ‘rockin it’, but more and more often, it’s in a rocking chair. And he sometimes needs a little schnapps to get the nose glowing.
The famous son of Mr. and Mrs. Donner of the North Pole, first appeared in a 1939 story by Robert L. May, and as Frosty the Snowman would say, “…he came to life one day!”. From the pages of wonderment and imagination, he leapt magically into the sky and on to television stardom, capturing hearts both young and old. That was 50 years ago.
Given that normal reindeer live only 12 to15 years on average, we all know that Rudolph is special and has been gifted with magical longevity. But he doesn’t join in any reindeer games as often.
You see, Rudolph’s annual work around the globe and subsequent living in the North Pole the other 364 days of the year, have taken a toll on his health. It’s cold and damp up there and with the mileage he’s put in, he kvetches a lot. Going down south for the winter was never an option for him.
Don’t get me wrong, his nose still shines at the sight of his wife Clarice, but the glow just doesn’t last as long. And ever since Abominable Snow Monsters were listed as an Endangered Species, he doesn’t go hunting anymore, but instead took up the craft of knitting. Every Christmas his friends receive custom hoof, paw or ear mittens.
His parents are now living with him and Clarice, but they aren’t much of a bother and they’re great with their grand-bucks and grand-does. To keep his hooves limber, Rudolph goes for a daily trot and fly around Santa’s village and has regular massage and acupuncture treatments. He’s added glucosamine supplements to his diet and the chronic pain associated to his condition has been kept to a manageable level. There are rumors of his use of medicinal marijuana to compliment pain management, but even Santa who sees him when he’s sleeping and knows when he’s awake – won’t confirm or deny the reports.
My reliable source, an elf named Elfis, told me that most of Santa’s original team retired long ago to the renovated & revamped Island of Retrofit Toys. Now a ‘go to’ island destination, it boasts a Nordic Spa with outdoor heated pools and sandy beach, amongst many other amenities. The King Moonracer Retirement (KMR) Castle offers quality living, with an onsite Dental Clinic run by Dr. Hermey (D.D.S) and a main dining hall ruled by Three-Star Michelin Chef, Mamma Claus. Rudolph has an honorary suite in the North Tower and it glows when he is visiting.
The complex also boasts an exercise room with an indoor trotting and galloping track, a billiard room, an organic alfalfa and hay garden, and a reindeer flying simulator. It’s semi-autonomous living at its best.
Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen organize games for the residents – and anyone can join in regardless of animated cultural background.
The original Misfit-Toy gang returned to the island once the renovations were done and became an integral part of the retirement community.
Charlie-In-The-Box is now head of security for the Island and Cowboy-Riding-An-Ostrich patrols the infrastructure. At the KMR Castle, Polka-Dotted-Elephant runs the front desk and Water-Pistol-That-Shoots-Jelly’ is the head waiter at Mamma Claus’ dining hall. Dolly-the-Rag-Doll runs a group therapy program for recovering toys.
I’m told that Airplane-That-Can’t-Fly manages the shuttle service for residents and Boat-That-Cannot-Stay-Afloat has a nice business going called Iceberg Day Tours & Cruises.
Yukon Cornelius, now a retired prospector after finally finding something from Nuthin’, often visits the Island but keeps himself busy running a peppermint mine near Santa’s workshop.
As for the Abominable Snow Monster, he fell in love with someone called Big Foot. They came out of the cave and now live in a large, but cozy log cabin in Northern Canada.
After 50 years, Rudolph with his nose so bright, has already gone down in history and I think it’s safe to say he will outlive most of us reading this article. One day he might be forgotten, but the magic he still brings to us today will shine forever.
Rudolph, thank you. Thank you for bringing the magic of Christmas into a little Jewish girl’s life, who fifty years later… still shouts out with glee!
Bonnie Wurst is a freelance journalist, a weekly columnist and feature writer for the Montreal Times, a novelist, ghost writer (not the scary kind) and humorist. Her book “Damaged Goods Re-Stitched” can be found on Amazon.com. For ‘HUMOR SOUP FOR THE SOUL’ speaking engagements & workshops, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org