It was Herb who discovered it. He went into the Read Me Now bookstore to ask Sarah if she had the latest Farmer's Almanac (he always plants vegetables in the bowels of something) and found she had hired a Santa's helper to talk to the children.
"Well, that's good," Doc said. "Maybe those little nippers will enjoy having a Santa to talk to."
"But Doc," Herb said, "she hired Windy Wilson!"
The Mule Barn truck stop right then and there lost at least fifteen bucks worth of breakfast, because we paid for our initial infestation of coffee and left, en masse, for the bookstore.
Windy had several children lined up waiting to tell him what they wanted for Christmas. He was in his element, fake whiskers, red suit and all.
Sarah came over and smiled. "You won't believe this, fellas, but Alphonse told me he'd do it for free."
"Did you just meet him?" Doc asked. She nodded.
We had to walk up closer to Santa to hear what pearls of yuletide wisdom were being dropped.
"Hello there, young lady," he said. "Do you wish to convey an appurtenance of Christmas time wishes to all of us at this conflagration?"
"Tell Santa what you want for Christmas," said her mother.
"Oh ... I want a doggie!"
"I see! You desire to bask in the unabrashed afflictions of our four-legged companions."
"No ... I want a doggie."
"Yes, of course you do." Windy glanced toward the girl's mother, who nodded.
"Now you realize, of course, that having a dog means providing it with ampulatory nourishment and care. And there may be some ... excretatory surprises to be remedliated."
The girl looked up at her mother.
"You'll have to feed it and clean up after it, Honey," Mom said.
"I will, Santa!"
"Good!" said Santa's helper. "And a felicitous celebration of the sanctified parturitional occurrence to you, my dear."
She looked up into the white beard and the twinkling eyes. "Merry Christmas!"
Sarah should charge admission.
Brought to you by "Home Country," the best of the first six years. Read a sample at www.slimrandles.com.