Through The Lens By Chuck Clegg Miracle of the Snow Mouse, Part I
This is the story of the Christmas, that almost never came to the town of New Martinsville. I will bet you did not know that on the night of December 24, 1917 Santa almost passed our town by on his annual Christmas journey.
If not for Justin the Snow Mouse and his family, along with Delmar Doolin our story would not be possible. No holiday magic or joy would have been under the decorated trees in homes throughout the small town.
Since this story is told to the young at this time of year, and you are more than 7 years old you may not want to know Justin’s story. But, if you can remember back to a time in your life when you could believe in that special magic of Christmas then, perhaps this is a story for you too.
It all began in 1901 with the construction of the great stone building that would become Magnolia High School on the corner of Martin and North Street. The building was constructed of cut stones laid high with red brick to make the walls of the school two stories. The sidewalk from North Street came up to the front doors of the building under a stone arch, which served as the entrance to the school. The front was lined with large windows that face southward to let the winter sun in to help heat the building.
At the back and front of the building were steps that made their way up to the levels above the main floor. The floors in the school were made of hard wood and treated once a year with oil to help preserve them. The oil always gave the large school an old musty smell.
On the top floor was a large room with a stage on the far west side. The stage was lined with deep red velvet curtains to hide the side wings of the stage. In front were rows of seats that also were covered in velvet. The smooth feel of the velvet made one believe they were in a place of great honor while watching performances on the stage.
Each Christmas, the hall was used for the local children to present an annual Christmas play for their families and the people of the town.
In a corner of the hall was a hidden opening near the base of the stage. A small opening most people would pass by and not even pause to notice. This was the home of the last known family of Magic Snow Mice to exist.
Justin, that was his name. He was the father to this large family of Snow Mice. He along with his wife, Willia and their five children lived in this place they called home in the corner of the stage in the great hall.
Cameron was the oldest of the children. He was now almost full grown and his tail was almost completely covered in long white hair.
Long white hair? Perhaps I should explain what a Snow Mouse is and where they came from. They are a special family of white mice that helped Santa deliver gifts to children around the world on Christmas Eve. As the job of Christmas kept growing larger each year Santa needed bigger, stronger helpers with his annual work. Over time many of the Snow Mice families moved away to find a place where they could work their magic helping children and their families throughout the world.
With the passing of time, many of the Snow Mice families disappeared and were never heard from again. Then one day only Justin and his family were left to help Santa in his Christmas mission. Because the Snow Mice made their home at the North Pole, they were very special and able to endure the harsh cold weather of the north.
A fully grown mouse was about the size of a man’s fist. Each was covered with silky white hair all over their bodies. Their ears were large and shaped much like a leaf from an Aspen Tree. Inside of their ears, it was a soft pink color with long white hair on the backside to cover them.
In very cold weather and when the north wind would blow over the snow, the mice could fold their ears over to protect them from the blowing cold air.
Each of the mouse’s feet were wide like a small snowshoe so they could move easily over freshly fallen snow. Their eyes were deep blue in color much like a beautiful sapphire jewel.
Their tails were over six inches long when they were fully grown. Their soft white hair grew out to the very tip of their tail.
If you were ever to feel the hair of a Snow Mouse, you would believe it is the softest thing you have ever touched.
It is said that a person who holds a Snow Mouse cupped in their two hands on Christmas Eve, can close their eyes and make a wish that shall be granted. That is what the legend says. It also says each Snow Mouse has only enough magic to grant one wish in each of their lives.
Justin had five children. Cameron was the bold one, feared no one or any cat alive. Drew and Abby are twins, something rare in Snow Mice. Drew was always careful and thoughtful before venturing out from his world below the stage. Abby was more like, get out of the way, here I come. Daniel was the most studious of the children. He loved to study and learn about Christmas and the big world around him. Living in a school gave him great opportunities to hide in the corners of the classrooms and listen to the humans teach their children about many fascinating things.
Finally there was Carter, the youngest of Justin’s children. He could not talk yet, but still liked to explore the great halls with his older brothers and sister.
There is one more person who is very important to our story, Delmar Doolin. Delmar had been the caretaker at the school for many years. He is the only human who knew that in the corner of the stage in the great hall, lived the last known family of Snow Mice. That was until one night when Delmar brought his young daughter to the stage to practice her song for the town’s annual Christmas Play.