A San Sophia Christmas Story


The following is a Christmas story written about Sampson, the resident cat who lives at San Sophia Station at the top of the gondola. The story was written by one of our gondola operators who wishes to remain anonymous. It is such a sweet story, that we just had to share it with the community. We hope you enjoy it. Happy Holidays!

Chapter 1- “Sampson Tabby Cat”

At the San Sophia gondola station on the top of the mountain lives a kind, old Tabby cat named Sampson, who has lived and worked at the gondola for many years and was well-known and loved by everyone who passed through.

But behind his orange whiskery smile, there was a hidden sadness; Sampson was lonely. Sampson was used to being lonely and sometimes he didn’t mind it so much, but today was Christmas Eve. It was going to be a fun day, as it always was, but he knew his day would end as it did every Christmas, gazing down at Telluride and Mountain Village, watching the celebrations as he sipped his cat nip tea in silence. Or so Sampson thought.

Chapter 2- “Christmas Eve Day”

The first to arrive that morning was Gary Cinnamon Bear. “Merry Christmas, Sampson!” handing him some candy canes.

“Why thank you, Gary, Merry Christmas,” Sampson said.

Gary was always a cheerful soul to greet in the mornings. Behind Gary Cinnamon Bear was Mr. and Mrs. Elk, then Amelia Beaver, who gifted Sampson some of her famous hot chocolate. Then came Tony Mountain Lion, who liked to practice his roar with Sampson each morning. And so, Sampson’s day went filled with laughter and many Merry Christmases from his friend.

As the sun set, and the shadow of San Sophia Mountain stretched with a yawn across the town below, Christmas Eve night had arrived in Telluride. Sampson, with a bit of sadness in his voice, gave his last warm wishes of the holiday season and began closing the gondola for the night. With a sigh, he walked over to his whistling tea kettle and made his way over to his usual spot. At first, Sampson said nothing; he was thinking about his day. The joy, the kindness, and he even laughed, recalling some of the silliness. Then, a tear fell from one of his whiskers. He smiled, looking up to the stars, and whispered, “Thank you for today.”

Chapter 3- “The Storm”

Sampson sniffled reaching for his tea that had now finished steeping. But just as he did his ears perked up. He had lived at angle station for years and knew that was the sound of a storm blowing in! He immediately radioed to Telluride, alerting them of the newly, approaching storm. Now, winter storms were not to be feared by the town’s folk, for they knew how to handle more snow. But tonight was Christmas Eve; what if Santa wasn’t able to make it through the storm?!

The night went on, and Sampson searched for any sign that the storm would let up. But with every hour that passed, it grew stronger and stronger until Sampson realized this was a blizzard.

Chapter 4- “An Unlikely Visitor”

Fearing the worst, Sampson then made preparations for the long, cold night ahead. However, just as he was locking up, he thought he heard a bell jingling.

“What on earth?” thought Sampson. He quickly grabbed his flashlight, shining it in the direction of where he had heard the bells. To his alarm, he could barely make out what looked to be a large, dark figure approaching! Sampson cleared his throat and gave a hard swallow.

“Uh, hello? Who, who’s there?” He asked rather fearfully. Then thinking of Tony Mountain Lion’s tips on roaring, he gained his courage. Sampson took a deep breath bellowing a very impressive roar for a tabby cat.

“Whooooa there, Sampson!” cried a voice whose figure had just now become visible in the light. “Forget my reindeer friends; you scared me stiff!” To Sampson’s amazement, there stood old Saint Nicholas himself!

“Why, why, why your Santa Clause!” Stammered the cat in disbelief.

“I am,” replied Santa with a smile. “And I need your help, Sampson.”

“Me?” asked Sampson

“Yes, but first things first, may we come in?” Santa motioned to the nine reindeer behind him. “And do you perhaps have any hot chocolate and candy canes?”

“Of course, come on in! And as a matter of fact, I do,” replied Sampson, chuckling. Now quite recovered from his scare earlier.

“Excellent!” exclaimed Santa. As Sampson was busy fixing the hot cocoa for Santa and the reindeer, Santa began sharing his adventures from the night visiting all seven continents. Sampson listened eagerly while also keeping a watchful eye on the hot cocoa. He was making hot chocolate for Santa and the reindeer after all.

“And then came the blizzard,” said Santa, finishing up his story. “The wind was too strong so we had to land quick. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to deliver presents to Telluride,” Santa noticed Sampson's disheartened face. “Did I say YET? I meant to say we haven’t delivered presents to Telluride YET. But that’s where you come in Sampson.”

“Me?” asked Sampson as he passed out the candy canes and hot coco.

“Yes, you. MMM, thank you,” exclaimed Santa, sipping his hot cocoa. “Make sure to give Amelia Beaver my compliments. This might even be better than what Mrs. Clause makes. But don’t tell her I said that.” He added with a wink.

By this time Sampson understood what Santa had meant by needing his help. “Yes of course, the gondola!”

“Excellent!” cried Santa smiling. As soon as Sampson started up the gondola, he helped Santa load his huge bag of presents into cabin number twenty, the red gondola!

“I’ve always liked this one,” said Sampson to himself. As Santa and the reindeer loaded in, Sampson walked alongside to see them off.

Santa poked his head out the door. “Would you mind helping us tonight?”

Sampson looked down. “Well, I’m not sure; it’s been years since I visited town.”

“Well then,” replied Santa chuckling, “you’re long overdue.” Sampson's heart raced. He had no time to think. Before he knew it, he had climbed into cabin twenty. Next stop, Telluride!

Chapter 5-“Thank you, Sampson”

It was a night Sampson would never forget, and because it was too windy for Santa’s sleigh to land on roof tops as he normally did to go down chimneys, he wasn’t quite sure where to put the presents.

But Sampson, after giving some thought, had the perfect place in mind. Soon all the presents were delivered and the reindeer cheered, celebrating the end of another Christmas completed. After a few snowballs thrown and one giant snowman made, they then boarded the gondola once again. As they all got off at angle station, Sampson looked out the window. The blizzard had suddenly stopped!

“This is it, isn’t it?” said Sampson with a sniffle. “Thank you all so much; I will never forget this night.”

“Thank YOU, Sampson!’ replied all the reindeer together. They then left, one by one, bidding their farewells. Santa was the last. But before he left, he looked outside, “Funny thing about storms, sometimes they seem like they’ll never let up.” Then, turning to Sampson placing his hand on his shoulder, “But never forget Sampson, you don’t have to brave the storms alone.”

Chapter 6-“Christmas Morning”

The next morning down in Telluride, the town awoke to a certain Sophia Field Mouse yelling at the top of her lungs. “Santa did make it! Wake up, everyone, Santa made it after all!”

The town’s folk, stepping out of their burrows, nests and cottages, gathered to where Sophia was yelling from. There, beneath the famous ski tree, were hundreds of presents! As the town folk cheered, passing out the gifts and celebrating, Sophia spotted a note that hung just in her reach. She quickly gave the letter to her mother, “What does it say, Mom?”

Mrs. Field Mouse’s eyes widened, “why it’s from Santa!”

My dear friends of Telluride,

I almost didn’t make it through the blizzard last night, but thanks to your friend on San Sophia Mountain, we were able to deliver the presents safely. Please be sure to show him our appreciation. And have a Merry Christmas!


Chapter 7-“Christmas at San Sophia”

“Sampson, are you there?” Sampson jumped out of bed, grabbing his radio. That was Gary Cinnamon Bear's voice!

“Sampson here,” responded the cat out of concern. “Everything okay, Gary?”

“Better than okay. Would you mind if a few of us came through today?” replied the bear.

“Why, of course not, I’ll start it right up!” said Sampson cheerfully.

“Great!” Replied the bear. “Oh, and Sampson, Merry Christmas!”

Sampson stood at his station as he always did, ready to greet the passengers for the day. But this time he noticed they were all getting off with packages. Soon, it seemed the whole town of Telluride was on San Sophia Mountain. As the last passenger got off, they cheered, “Merry Christmas, Sampson!”

The town gave Sampson many presents and threw the biggest Christmas party the town of Telluride had ever seen.

The End

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