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28 x December 21, 2017 -

28 x December 21, 2017 - January 3, 2018 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 the holidays, especially New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Eve, my family and I get together at my aunt’s house. I like it because of all the food they cook, the games we play by the campfire, and the Christmas music we listen to. It all begins in the morning, when Uncle Gaby lights the campfire and starts to cook the pig. He cooks a whole pig over the fire, turning it around and around slowly so it cooks all the way. My mom and aunts are in the kitchen, making the rest of the food. They make yellow rice with pigeon peas, potato salad, macaroni salad, sweet potatoes, eggnog and much more. We play games by the fire with Uncle Jose. He gathers all my cousins, and we play football, softball, tug of war and hopscotch. When we are tired, we sit down and play Monopoly, bingo, Chutes and Ladders, and other board games. I like to watch my dad, grandpa and uncles play dominoes. They can sit there playing dominoes for hours and hours, telling stories and jokes all day. When the sun goes down, everyone sits around the campfire to listen to Christmas music. We listen and sing along to both American and Puerto Rican Christmas songs. My grandpa always likes to say a prayer and thanks God for the food we eat and for having the family come together. The music and dancing continues through the night as the year comes to an end. When we are ready to bring in the new year, I like to go inside the house, because I don’t enjoy the fireworks and the loud popping sounds. I watch the countdown on TV with my parents, and when the new year arrives, we go around and give hugs and kisses to everyone. Honorable Mention The Christmas Mystery by Alexandra “Lexi” Clark Dr. Phillips Santa’s Gone Missin’ Every elf gathered in the North Pole Conference Room. They FaceTimed Copper and The Bent, the world’s No. 1 missing-animal detectives. Copper looked at his iDogPad, accepted the call and said, “Copper here. Who’s this?” “Oh, hello there, Copper. It’s the North Pole, and we’ve got a situation. Santa has been kidnapped!” Bentley snatched the iDogPad from Copper’s paws. “Brilliant. But we only do animal cases.” “But you guys are the best ... and you do believe in Santa, don’t ya?” Copper snatched the iDogPad again. “You ain’t whistlin’ Dixie, we believe! Well, shucky dern, looks like we’re headed to the North Pole. We’ll grab the first bird outta here.” "Brilliant!" The Crime Scene Standing outside in the arctic cold, Bentley buttoned his wool tweed coat. Copper rolled his eyes, unbuttoned his jean jacket, and knocked on the North Pole door. A group of excited elves greeted the detectives and walked them to the crime scene. “We last saw Santa here,” one of the elves stated. “He was drinking hot cocoa while checking his final list — twice.” The Bent grabbed his notepad and began asking questions. Meanwhile, Copper sniffed everywhere. “Chocolate hearts and Easter eggs, eh? Brilliant.” “Somethin’ ain’t smellin’ right. It smells like ... “ Copper said but didn’t finish his sentence. “Coppuh, we’ve got the evidence we need. Time to make tracks, chap.” “I reckon yer right. Let’s bolt on outta here.” Smells Like ... At their favorite fire hydrant, Copper and Bentley discussed the next moves in their case. Just then, the Bent caught a whiff of Boston Market from across the street. “Did you smell that, Coppuh? That’s the same smell from the North Pole!” “I’ve been tryin’ to tell ya, Bent! Them there eggs and chocolate ... they smell like ... “ They both looked at each other and yelled, “Turkey!” “You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?” Copper asked. “Brilliant. Let’s go visit the Thanksgiving Turkey.” Was It the Turkey? “Bent, we need this here Turkey to squawk,” Copper said. “Leave that to me, Coppuh. I’ve got a plan.” The two detectives barged into Turkey’s tree stump apartment and began their interrogation. During their questioning, Bentley secretly grabbed three feathers from the floor and placed them behind his back. “Turkey, we found these feathers at the North Pole.” He fanned the feathers in front of Turkey. “Now where’s Kringle?” Turkey immediately broke, sobbing uncontrollably. “It was me! I took Santa. I did it.” “Cough it up, gobbler,” Copper demanded. “Where’d you put ‘em?” “The one place where Thanksgiving never dies ... the Dallas Cowboys stadium.” The Stadium With Turkey in handcuffs, everyone, including Santa Claus, met on the big blue Texas star at the 50-yard line. “I’m so sorry,” Turkey cried. “I’m a good bird. Everyone just forgets about Thanksgiving. Halloween gets over, and they’ll all start putting up Christmas lights.” “You’re goin’ down bird,” Copper shouted. “Bloody right, Coppuh. Behind bars, Gobbluh,” Bentley chimed in. Santa interrupted, “Hold on. You’re right, Turkey. Thanksgiving is important. Furthermore, Christmas is about the spirit of giving and forgiveness. I accept your apology. And, I apologize to you. I’d like to invite you on a sleigh ride with me. Christmas Eve. You busy?” “Well, shuck dern!” Copper exclaimed. “We’re goin’ on a sleigh ride!” “Well, not you Copper,” Santa said. “Just me and Turkey ... and the reindeer, of course.” Turkey smiled. “Yes! As long as you come over for Thanksgiving football. And everyone is invited!” “Ho, ho, ho,” Santa yelled. “Another case solved, Coppuh. Merry Christmas to all.” “And to all a good bite,” Copper said. Honorable Mention Christmas Lost in Unicorn Forest by Aliza Britton Windsor Landing It was a dark and gloomy time in Unicorn Forest. There were no colorful

lights, decorated trees or rainbows. Most importantly, there were no floating marshmallows in Hot Chocolate Lake. Also, all the unicorns were at home. Even Santa’s elves couldn’t fix the problem in the forest. It was up to Santa to find four jolly good helpers to get Unicorn Forest looking and feeling like Christmas. A week later, Santa found four bushy-tailed helpers. They were squirrels named Ginger, Cinnamon, Eggnog and Cookie. They all adored Christmas and were each excited about the jobs they had to do. Santa had to fly with them to help make the magic happen in the mystical forest. When they arrived at Unicorn Forest, it looked dull and ordinary. The squirrels looked at each other and agreed that it was going to be a big challenge to bring Christmas joy to the forest. In the morning, the squirrels got right to work. Ginger hung garland, popcorn and ornaments on the trees. Eggnog had to string the bright, colorful sugar lights on all the trees. Cinnamon baked sweet treats, like cookies, cannoli and confetti Pop-Tarts. Ginger went shopping to bring beautifully wrapped presents back to the forest. Last but not least, Cookie tried to find where all the brightly colored rainbows had gone. After they finished most of their jobs, they celebrated by eating Christmas nuts and berries with Santa. They still had two more things to do. They had to wake up the unicorns and show them that Christmas wasn’t lost in the forest after all. Also, Cookie still had to find those rainbows. Cookie called the birds to do an overview of the forest. As the birds searched up high, a blue jay found the rainbows on top of Sprinkle Peak. The blue jay swooped down and grabbed the rainbows with his strong beak and pulled them up to the sky. To wake up the unicorns, Santa gave the squirrels magical bells that his reindeer wore. The squirrels went to each house, jingling bells over every chimney. When the unicorns heard the bells, they immediately woke up. They were shocked when they smelled freshly baked goodies in the kitchen. There were newly wrapped presents under every tree outside each house. When they went to the window, they saw bright, dazzling sugar lights all over the forest. The unicorns didn’t know who decorated and brought the Christmas spirit to Unicorn Forest. They loved that they were going to celebrate Christmas that year. The squirrels could see that the unicorns really appreciated what they did. Unicorn Forest found its Christmas spirit after all. With the help of four awesome furry helpers, it was a happily ever after Christmas in Unicorn Forest. Honorable Mention A Christmas to Remember by Francesca Reilly Bay Hill ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and it was silent through the Robinsons’ house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. On the other hand, the house next door was as ecstatic as ever. The Robinsons had always known that their neighbors were a bit peculiar but often ignored their behavior. Tonight, however, the family couldn’t help but pay attention to the bizarre behavior coming from their next-door neighbors’ house. Eleven-year-old Peyton, 7-year-old Lela, and Mr. and Mrs. Robinson decided they would go over to the Claus’ house and check out the racket that they were causing. The thought occurred to the children that the house could possibly be Santa’s house, but the pair immediately doubted their thoughts. Santa lives in the North Pole, doesn’t he? They went over to the Claus’ house and quickly discovered that there were toys and charming Christmas decorations scattered around the house. It also appeared to be snowing inside, and they could tell all of this by standing by the front door and peeking into the window where Mrs. Claus was standing next to Santa by the fireplace. Wow! They had lived right next to the Clauses for about seven years and never thought of this happening. How had they never perceived that they lived next to Santa Claus? Peyton excitedly knocked on the Claus’ door and found herself standing in front of Santa. Santa laughed in a jolly fashion and amiably asked how he could help the charming little girl. “Are you Santa Claus?” Peyton said with a giggle. www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 21, 2017 - January 3, 2018 x 29 “Why yes, I am!” Santa said. “Ho, ho, ho!” As Lela made her way to the front door, Santa gave Peyton a candy cane complete with a red ribbon wrapped around it. “Can I have one, too?” Lela asked. “Why of course you can!” Santa said. Lela went up to Santa, politely grabbed the candy cane, and gave him a warm, cozy hug. Then Mr. and Mrs. Robinson went up to Santa and introduced themselves, and Santa called for Mrs. Claus to come over with six cups of hot cocoa. They chatted for a while and drank their delicious hot cocoa. “Remember it’s Christmas Eve, so, why don’t you girls tell me what you want me to put under your tree tonight?” Santa said. The girls, full of joy, smiled widely and took turns sitting on his lap. They told Santa what they wanted. When they were done, they said thank you to Santa and Mrs. Claus, gave Santa one last hug, and went home. The next morning, they woke up, ran downstairs and found a bunch of presents under the tree. The room was so full of joy, you could tell Santa had sprinkled Christmas magic around the house the night before. The girls found a note that said, I hope you like all of your presents. See you tomorrow at dinner. (Your parents invited us over.) Your friend, Santa Claus. The whole Robinson family agreed it was the best Christmas ever! Honorable Mention A Christmas Puppy by Holland Roedema Pembrooke The Christmas of 2015 was a time I will never forget. I was given one of the greatest gifts then, and it has brought an incredible amount of happiness to my family and me. Receiving this shocking present was an enormous surprise to our family and brought great cheer to the holidays. This gift has truly brought our family together to celebrate the Christmas season and will continue to bring about more joy. CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 We See Patients 6yrs old and up Adolescents, Adults and Geriatrics