Empath’s personal journal, December 29.
This smurf had the uncomfortable “privilege” of realizing what Papa Smurf had been doing in his evenings apart from us – basically hiding himself away from his little Smurfs, trying to relive a part of his life in the past that he missed having so much that he had to recreate it in the Imaginarium. This smurf could understand his reasons for doing so, since his role as being the sole parent figure in this village leaves him with nobody of his generation to relate to on any level. However, earlier in the previous day, this smurf had sensed that Brainy, who has gotten to know my Papa Smurf as THE Papa Smurf in his life along with the rest of this smurf’s fellow Smurfs, was missing the presence of Aristotle Smurf, his own Papa Smurf who brought him into this world through this smurf’s Mama Smurf Lillithina. Apparently the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration is starting to make most of the Smurfs, the ones who lived through losing their parents to the disease that left them as orphans and Papa Smurf as their sole parent figure, remember their own Papa and Mama Smurfs from a time when this smurf was still in a gestation chamber in Psychelia. And somehow this smurf feels guilty because of the revelation Papa Smurf had given about this smurf being his “only begotten son” which made this smurf feel somewhat special, though at the risk of possibly dividing up this new family that was forged together from a childhood disaster. So far, though, every Smurf still regards Papa Smurf as simply and solely their Papa Smurf, despite the revelation. However, this smurf still has the sense that such a division is yet forthcoming.
Over the course of the following day, Papa Smurf had spent it in his laboratory with Brainy, listening to Brainy’s solutions to the problems he was having with some of his failed experiments while also looking at Actor’s written proposal for a movie he wanted to film using the Imaginarium, which Empath had submitted for his approval. However, it seemed to Brainy Smurf that Papa Smurf was merely agreeing to what he was hearing without really listening to what Brainy was saying. His reading of the proposal was also done in a somewhat half-hearted manner, just simply going over the words but not taking in what he was seeing on the pages. It was like Papa Smurf was there with his Smurfs in person, but the rest of him was still on that “vacation” Brainy was talking about.
“Papa Smurf, are you okay?” Brainy asked with some concern, realizing that the village leader looked like he wanted to be anywhere other than in his laboratory doing his work. “You smurf like you haven’t been smurfing a word that I smurfed about your experiments, let alone smurfing this smurfy proposal of Actor’s.”
Papa Smurf sighed. “I’m sorry, Brainy. It’s just that I’ve been smurfing about your Mama Smurf so much that it’s been smurfing me away from wanting to smurf anything with you or the other little Smurfs.”
Brainy nodded with some heartfelt understanding. “No wonder you’ve been smurfing so much time in the Imaginarium over the past several evenings, Papa Smurf. The truth is, even I’m smurfing to miss her presence as well as that of my own Papa Smurf, the one who smurfed me everything about literature and philosmurphy and everything about the finer points of Smurf history and culture. He wanted me to make smurf that I would be educated enough to teach all my fellow Smurfs so that they could be as intelligent and wise as I am, though I know that I could never smurf a candle when it comes to smurfing as wise as you are.”
“I’m sure that your Papa Smurf would have been very proud of you if he were alive to smurf what you have smurfed for yourself today, Brainy,” Papa Smurf told him sincerely. “He and I both smurfed our differences, and I didn’t approve of what he smurfed with your Mama Smurf when he smurfed you into the world, but I want you to know that I don’t smurf anything against you for that smurfening. You’re just as special to me as Empath was, for you were the last thing your Mama Smurf smurfed to me before she went to join her fellow Smurfs in the smurfy hereafter. And your Papa Smurf was a very good friend of mine, even if his speeches were just as long-smurfed as yours were at times.”
“I’m just wondering, Papa Smurf, if all the other Smurfs in the village who were here at the time we lost our parents are also smurfing about their Papa and Mama Smurfs on an occasion like this,” Brainy stated.
“As long as their smurfiniscing isn’t smurfing in the way of their duties, Brainy,” Papa Smurf answered. “If Empath’s entering my private fantasy in the Imaginarium is trying to smurf me anything, it’s that we shouldn’t let what we remember about our loved ones be smurfthing that smurfs us away from smurfing in the here and now.”
Meanwhile, Empath was busy in Handy’s workshop helping Handy do some repair work on his snowplowing machine, which he had built recently to clear out the village walkways of huge chunks of snow much quicker than with regular shoveling. There had been some malfunctions with the machine that have been causing it to go out of control, plus it had been leaking oil all over the place. Since the machine was rather heavy, Handy required Empath’s abilities to make getting underneath the machine to fix the oil leaks possible. Using his mind power, Empath hoisted the snowplow high enough for Hefty and a few other strong Smurfs to move some support struts in place, giving Handy enough room to move around with his toolbox underneath the machine to do his repair work. Hefty was again surprised that Empath wasn’t using his minds-eye to keep the snowplow lifted off the ground instead of just having it be on supports. But he knew from experience that Empath’s abilities did have certain limits, and he wasn’t going to have Empath attempt to exceed those limits to the point where he may endanger his fellow Smurfs.
Handy came into his workshop with his tools, wearing his tan-colored grease monkey coveralls, ready to do his work. He excused all the other Smurfs from his workshop, but allowed Empath to stay with him while he got the work done. Empath reported where the machine needed repairs from what his touch-telepathy told him, and Handy went straight to where the problem was located and did his best work to fix it.
“Handy, do you still think about your Papa Smurf at all, even though it’s been years since you last saw him alive?” Empath asked out of curiosity as Handy did his work.
“Sometimes I do smurf of him, Empath,” Handy answered honestly. “Maybe not as much as when I was a young Smurfling, mind you, but the things that he smurfed in my life before your Papa Smurf smurfed over as Papa Smurf were the things that helped smurf me into the Smurf that I am today. He loved fiddling around with things in his workshop just as much as I do, and like Hefty, he loved smurfing weights and smurfing himself into shape every day. My Mama Smurf never liked having me smurf around with tools when I was that young, but he always smurfed up for my desire to be just like him as his ‘little man Smurf’.”
“Did you ever had to feel guilty about leaving the memory of your Papa Smurf behind when my Papa Smurf became the ‘one and only’ Papa Smurf in your life?” Empath asked, not sure if he really wanted to ask that question.
“Well, I have to smurf that I did feel a little guilty,” Handy answered, sighing. “I mean, your Papa Smurf wasn’t such a bad Smurf once I got to smurf him better when it was just me and 96 other Smurfs my age. But he could never entirely replace my Papa Smurf, and he did let me know that he never meant to do so. Yet the day when I found mysmurf calling your Papa Smurf just Papa Smurf without feeling uncomfortable about it felt like the day I entirely buried my own Papa Smurf in my mind, just as he was also buried in the grave.” He grunted for a bit as he exerted himself tightening up some bolts underneath the snowplow before he continued. “What I wouldn’t smurf to still have him smurf here today to tell me what a great job I’m smurfing when it comes to building and fixing and inventing things – even if I have to smurf up with his doting on Hefty and his wanting to smurf as strong as he is.”
Empath nodded in agreement to that thought. He waited until Handy was finished with his work underneath the machine and he had scooted out of there with his toolbox. Then, using his minds-eye, he lifted the snowplow off its supports while also moving the supports out of the way before lowering it back down to the ground.
“Now let’s see how this thing is smurfing now,” Handy suggested, jumping onto the snowplow seat and turning a crank to get her going. The engine sputtered for a bit before it started to run without any strange noises.
“Just perfect! My own Papa Smurf would be pleased with this!” Handy remarked, grinning.
Polaris Psyche had finished yet another day of his usual rounds, observing all the activities going on in the village and making his notes on the clipboard he carried. This time the Smurflings had moved their snowball fight to the open field on the north end of the village, which normally was there the storks and cranes would land as well as Handy’s own smurfplane in warmer seasons. During his rounds Polaris briefly looked at the Smurflings having fun, and remembered what Empath had told him about his winter activities during his visits to the Smurf Village. Though he wasn’t supposed to feel any emotion, Polaris could feel a bit of envy for Empath and the Smurflings being able to enjoy a childhood to some degree that wasn’t all wrapped up in endless training exercises and meditational activities.
He quickly decided to pay Tapper a visit in his tavern, partly to get out of the cold, and partly to ask him questions that were on his mind. Though the place wasn’t quite as busy as it was in the evenings, Polaris could see some Smurfs already in there trying to keep themselves warm with some treebark brew. Polaris didn’t particularly care for drinking the stuff since the taste to him was rather offensive, even though Tapper stocked enough cream powder and sugar to make drinking it more tasteful.
“Greetings, my fellow Polaris,” Tapper announced as Polaris approached his counter. “What can I smurf you for on this cold afternoon? Some goldenrod tea with a bit of mint? Or how about some nice cinnamon cider?”
“A simple glass of unflavored seltzer water would be sufficient, fellow Tapper,” Polaris requested in his normal flat tone.
Tapper shrugged for a bit before filling a glass of seltzer water. “So how goes your job smurfing around the village as the chief of security details?” he asked.
“It would seem that this village for the most part is a little too peaceful for this one to maintain such a position as this one was given, Tapper,” Polaris answered, sounding frustrated. “There are rarely if ever any situations such as acts of violence among your people that would require this one to take action to intervene. At this time of year, the general thoughts of the populace have seemed to turn toward celebrating the new year that is approaching in a few days. Yet there is also the additional element of reminiscing about loved ones in the village who have passed away years ago that are consuming the thoughts of every Smurf except for Smurfette, Snappy, Slouchy, Nat, and Baby Smurf.”
“Well, with what we’ve smurfed through in this village, Polaris, it’s undersmurfable why most Smurfs here would have those kind of thoughts,” Tapper explained. “About 100 smurfs ago, all of Papa Smurf’s fellow Smurfs have been smurfen with a strange unknown disease that no Smurf was able to find the cause or the cure for. It was leaving all of us, their children, as orphans, and Papa Smurf ended up having to be the one Smurf to be our Papa Smurf. It was nothing that I would ever want to smurf through again in this life, but we somehow managed to survive it all and become an entirely new family where all of us Smurfs here became Papa Smurf’s little Smurfs.”
“But Papa Smurf wasn’t your original father?” Polaris asked, uncertain of what Tapper was trying to say.
“Nay, Polaris,” Tapper responded. “My own Papa Smurf was Séamus Smurf, one of the best brewers of sarsaparilla ale in all of Smurfdom, and a fine good host of the Smurfrock Tavern at that. He and my Mama Smurf had smurfed a trip to the Emerald Isle, which was where he kissed the Blarney Stone, and when I who was still in my dideys also smurfed the same. It was also where we smurfed some of the most pesky leprechauns that me and my family had the misfortune of ever smurfing. He found a four-leaf clover for me in that place, which he said would always smurf me good luck, and I had this clover in my hat ever since.”
“This one can sense that your thoughts are also on this Séamus Smurf who is your real father,” Polaris surmised.
Tapper nodded with a sigh. “I can’t help thinking at times what he would smurf to me if he could smurf me now, Polaris, running this tavern just like he did in those glorious yesteryears of his youth. He had a special place in my heart that makes his not smurfing around in this life a heavy burden to bear at times. But I know in my heart that he always cared for me, just like Empath’s Papa Smurf does now, and that he’s smurfing over me to make sure I turn out to be just like him.”
“This one did not intend to make you feel uncomfortable with this remembrance of your loved ones, Tapper,” Polaris said with some heartfelt feeling behind it.
“It’s not your fault, Polaris. It’s just what smurfs with the territory of being a Smurf in this village, even as we smurf ahead to what the new year may smurf.”
Suddenly Tapper and Polaris could hear a fellow Smurf crying very loudly in the tavern. They both turned and saw that it was Duncan McSmurf, who was nursing a hot cup of cinnamon tree bark brew while sitting next to a window looking out at the snowy landscape of the village.
"Pardon me, Polaris, but I feel in my spirit that my friend needs to have a private conversation," Tapper said as he left the counter and headed for the table where Duncan was sitting. He sat down next to his friend and said, "Pray tell, what is making you feel so sad on this day before the New Year's Eve?" he politely asked.
"Ah, just thinking about my Papa and Mama Smurf, knowing that they're gone into the smurfy hereafter, laddie, that they'll never see their boy become a grown Smurf like I am now," Duncan said as soon as he regained some control over his emotions. "I tried so hard to live up to what my Papa Smurf wanted of me, to be a tough brave Smurf who will look after the others, but not once have I ever smurfed myself a chance to cry for them, because my Papa Smurf wanted me to smurf forward instead of smurfing back."
"There's no shame in crying for them now, my friend," Tapper said as he put his hand on Duncan's to show comfort. "Your bravery is what helped many Smurfs, including myself, be encouraged to continue smurfing onward instead of smurfing back. You have a lot to be proud of, and I'm sure that your Papa Smurf would be pleased to know that of his son wherever he is now."
"But part of me wishes for yesterday to return as well as my Papa and Mama Smurf, because I miss them so terribly," Duncan said, sniffling hard to keep more tears from falling. "It just isn't fair that Empath's Papa Smurf should be the one to live while the others have died...all those good Smurfs and Smurfettes that used to be everyone's parents before that terrible plague happened."
"I'm afraid that I can't speak on what's fair and what isn't fair as far as who smurfs and who dies, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said. "Life has smurfed us all a terrible hand, but if it wasn't for Empath's Papa Smurf still living, we wouldn't have survived as a village, much less as a family. We have so much to be thankful for when it smurfs to us escaping that disaster, it would smurf a whole lifetime for us to fully express it. But I do agree with what you're feeling, that our parents should be here with us instead of just Empath's Papa Smurf."
Duncan nodded as he heard everything that his friend said. "I'm sorry that I'm smurfing such a big deal of my loss in front of every Smurf here, when I should be smurfing my eyes out at home," he said.
"That's quite all right, my friend," Tapper said. "You're permitted to smurf exactly how you feel about yourself in here however you want, within reason, of course. I just want to make sure that you have this under control."
"I'll be fine, laddie, don't you be worrying about me now," Duncan said. "I know that I still have family and friends to smurf on in case I ever start to feel lonely." He managed to look up to Tapper with a smile on his face. "Go now, tend to your customers while I smurf my brew to make myself feel a little better."
"I'll leave you alone if that is what you want, Duncan," Tapper said. "But if you ever need to talk to someone in those times when you start to feel lonely, remember that I am always here for you, as your brother."
"Aye, that's the one thing that will never change about us, even if it feels like I'm losing my own brother Miner to you, Tapper," Duncan said.
Tapper returned to the counter where he saw that Polaris had sensed what was going on, but didn't feel like it was appropriate for him to voice his own thoughts. "I do feel whatever it it is you may be smurfing at this moment about my friend Duncan, Polaris," Tapper said. "I just hope that we can ease each other's burdens about remembering loved ones who are now smurfed and gone, and that we can smurf the strength to carry on into the new year."
"Then may the spirits of the Great Ancestors be upon us tonight to comfort all our hearts and to guide us on the path of wisdom and understanding, fellow Tapper," Polaris said.
A good distance away from the Smurf Village, Chlorhydris the evil witch was again observing the Smurfs and their activities and behaviors through her magic telescope in her observatory, though now with the help of a pair of magic earrings she was also overhearing what the Smurfs were talking about. At this point she was observing Empath, the one Smurf she was now starting to hate with her whole being since the year before, when Empath and his newfound forest friend Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer foiled her attempt to ruin the joyous spirit of Christmas by becoming part of Mr. Nicholas’ team of flying reindeer. She hoped that her magic fog would ruin Mr. Nicholas’ flight over the villages to deliver the toys and gifts for all the boys and girls on Christmas Eve, but Empath’s unexpected delivery of Rudolph, whose red nose enabled Mr. Nicholas to fly through the dangerous fog safely, made her plan backfire, causing her to turn her attention on the one Smurf who dared to interfere with her plans.
“So this star-clothed little Smurf is thinking about his mother, eh?” Chlorhydris spoke to her pet macaw. “It seems like he and all his fellow Smurfs, including Papa Smurf, have been having these thoughts of loved ones who have passed away on their minds lately – much like the love of my life whom I was supposed to marry who somehow never showed up at the altar on my wedding night. Well, we can use these very thoughts against them in a way that will destroy the very harmony that has bound their village together, and get them to be consumed in those thoughts that they will never think about each other in the same way ever again.” She turned to her spellbook which she had beside her next to her chair in front of the telescope and found the very spell she was looking for. “Ah, yes, the very thing I needed for this time of the season…the Auld Lang Syne Spell. May those Smurfs be so bound in the memories of those loved ones gone by that it will cause them to see those memories come to life and never realize what those memories are doing to them until it is too late.”
Chlorhydris let out an evil cackle with her pet macaw as she waved her hand beside the magic telescope, projecting her evil spell toward the Smurf Village and her unsuspecting targets.