A Due South Christmas Carol
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This story doesn't fit the pattern of Dickens' original classic but it's my story and I can call it a Christmas Carol if I want to!
(Note: Charles Dickens referred to his original story as "A Christmas Carol in Prose", and he built on this by referring to the chapters as "staves", an archaic term for the stanzas of a poem or song. I like the word and decided to use it myself. Who am I to argue with tradition?)
With this story I introduce Stan's "business" of ferrets, the Kowalski Weasel Patrol. I also introduce Max, the "special needs" ferret that Stan sponsors through the local rescue shelter. Max is based on Big Bear, a real furkid that resided in the Friends of Fuzzies rescue shelter in Oregon, now defunct, unfortunately. Bear had hind-end paralysis, and he got around with the same type of gizmo that Max does - and he loved it. Bear was a very special little guy, and his story inspired one of my Rainbow Bridge tales, Tinker. When Big Bear made his own journey to the Rainbow Bridge in May of 2000, the world became that much poorer, and I felt that I'd lost a friend. Max was created in Bear's honor. I have plans for further stories involving Max - and the Kowalski Weasel Patrol.
This story is dedicated to the wonderful people who run ferret rescue shelters across the United States and in other countries; they give their time, their homes, their hearts, their tears to make sure that these sweet little creatures will have someplace to call home. These folks are my heroes.
I also dedicate it to Big Bear, of course, and especially to my own little Al, who recently decided it was time to leave. I hope he's playing and having a great time at the Rainbow Bridge.
This story is my Christmas present to my friends at alt.tv.due-south. I hope everyone enjoys it.