INITIATE: From Initiate to Hero: The Rest of the Story by G. Ackman

Word Count 492

From Initiate to Hero: The Rest of the Story
by G. Ackman

“Dad, whose statue is that?”

“That’s Rudolph, son,” dad sighed.

“Who was he?”

“Well, he lived a long time ago and became very famous.”

“What’d he do?”

“He was a little like Paul Revere – made famous not so much for what he did but for what someone wrote about him.”

“Huh? I don’t understand.”

“Sit down here, and I’ll tell you all about it.”

“One Christmas season, a long time ago, a little deer was born and his parents named him Rudolph.”

“That’s a funny name.”

“No one uses it anymore, and that’s why it sounds funny to you. But there used to be lots of Rudolphs. It was the second most common name after Prancer.”

“Like me!”

“Yes, son, like you. Anyway, this Rudolph was a bit different. You see he was allergic to pine, yet he just loved it.”

“I do too.”

“Yes, I know. But Rudolph wasn’t supposed to eat it and every time he did, his eyes would swell all up and his nose would turn bright red and be all stuffy. Everyone laughed at him because he kept on doing it anyway. His mom and dad would tell him to stay away from the pines, but sure enough, there would be Rudolph, every afternoon, nibbling away, and the next morning – poof! big red nose and watery eyes.”

Then, one Christmas, the weather was just terrible. Way too foggy to navigate so Santa was not going to be able to go on his rounds. We were so sad thinking of all those poor children waking up Christmas morning to no presents. Then Dasher – your great, great uncle – came up with a great idea. He suggested that Santa put those LED headlamps on each of the reindeer and that would make it easier for him to see. Everyone agreed that made sense, so Mrs. Claus headed right out to the store and bought every single headlamp they had. All the reindeer strapped them on and got into harness. It worked – those bright lights pierced the heavy fog and Santa made his deliveries with no problems. Christmas was saved, thanks to Dasher’s initiative.”

“But I still don’t understand. If it was Uncle Dasher’s idea, why doesn’t he have a statue?”

“Well, a little boy, Robert May, happened to be awake when he shouldn’t and saw the reindeer, including poor Rudolph and his swollen nose, flying away from his house with their lights on. Later, for his own kids, he made up a story about the reindeer and their lights, but he changed it to only one – Rudolph – and made it where he had been bullied because of his nose and then saved the day. So Rudolph, an initiate reindeer, since it was his first ever Christmas flight, became the hero. A few years later, the singer Johnny Marks turned May’s story into a song, and pretty soon, everyone knew the story that never was – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

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