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Santa’s little helper only costs a quarter

Fried RiceHeidi Rice

“Honey, why don’t we do something that will make us feel really, really good,” I suggested to husband-head, giving him a big hug as he came through the door after work.Husband-head’s eyes instantly lit up.”OK,” he agreed with a broad smile. “Who put a quarter in YOU?””No, no, no…I mean something that will make us feel good inside for the holidays,” I quickly clarified.”Well, Hamburger Helper would make me feel good inside right now,” husband-head confessed, taking off his coat. “I’m hungry.”Then his eyes narrowed and he looked suspicious.”If this in any way involves me getting into a Santa suit or wearing an elf costume, I’m NOT doing it,” husband-head said firmly.I explained that we’d been asked to volunteer in helping a local charitable organization hand out candy and gifts to the kids at the shopping mall.”Santa will be there for pictures,” I tried to coax husband-head. “And if you’re a good little helper, maybe you can sit on his lap and tell him what you want for Christmas.””Yeah, and break Santa’s femur,” husband-head nodded. “That would be good…”Nevertheless, the next day we donned our little red and white Santa caps and went to the mall. There was Santa sitting in a big overstuffed chair with Mrs. Claus and the elves all around him.”How come Santa is so skinny?” husband-head whispered to me. “Is the economy that bad in the North Pole?””Either that, or he’s on a low-carb diet,” I whispered back.The little kids stood in line and took their turns climbing up on Santa to lie through their teeth about what little angels they’d been all year and demand the things they wanted for Christmas.Of course, then there was the one token little kid who kept going BACK in line, as he apparently had a list a mile long…Husband-head nudged me.”I used to do that,” he said knowingly. “That’s an old trick.”I envisioned husband-head as a little boy, donning a fake mustache or one of those big noses, trying to fool Santa into thinking he was Barbra Streisand.”What did you ask for when you were a kid?” I asked curiously. “A Farrah Fawcett poster? The one where she’s wearing the red bathing suit with her head thrown back and flaunting her pearly white dentures?” “Nah, I think it was more like a dirt bike, a signed Packer football and electric train sets…” husband-head recalled.Same things he wants now.”And I’ll bet you got everything you wanted,” I said, knowing husband-head was the baby of six children and a spoiled little kid. “So how long was it before you crashed and burned on the dirt bike?””Oh, about 30 minutes,” he admitted.Husband-head was thoughtful for a moment.”What did you ask for from Santa?” he rallied. “A Barbie? An Easy-Bake oven?””Nope,” I said honestly. “I think I asked for breast augmentation, liposuction and a date with Brad Pitt.”Same things I want now.”You didn’t get anything you wanted, did you?” husband-head said, looking down at me sympathetically.I punched him in the arm.”Besides, I don’t think Brad Pitt was even BORN yet when you were a kid,” husband-head pointed out.I punched him even harder.We hung around for a little while longer, but I could tell husband-head was getting bored with the whole “Santa’s little helper” scene, so we left.As we got ready for bed that evening, I thanked husband-head for being a good sport about volunteering his time.”Now didn’t that make you feel good inside?” I asked, fully aware that husband-head has a huge heart of gold.”Yeah, I guess so,” he admitted. “And I didn’t even have to get into a Santa suit or an elf costume…”He laid back in bed and flipped me a quarter.”Hey lady, want to know what I’d like for Christmas?”Heidi Rice is the Rifle correspondent for the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com


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