Kids and Christmas go together like cake and icing. I had to make a trip the other day to get a copy of my birth certificate. You know. The first one was written on papyrus and has since crumbled to dust.
The room was mostly empty when I arrived, with only a couple of ladies and a very young boy sitting to the left of the entrance. Since I never go anywhere without a book in tow, I chose the right side of the entrance and laid my book face down, open at the page I was reading.
I filled out the required information and took it to the desk where the nice state employee lady told me there could be a 15-minute waiting period. As I turned to head back to my seat and my book, I was cut off at the pass by the aforementioned little tyke, who walked boldly to the seat where my book lay all unsuspectingly, snapped it shut, and sat down beside me.
He was working on a sucker like he was getting paid by the second to make it disappear, and looked expectantly up into my face. He had to be all of four years old — barely. Well, he was such a bold little creature that I forgot all about the book and proceeded to make conversation.
“Is Santa coming to see you this year?” I asked.
A moment’s thought and a solemn nod of the head. His mouth was busy slurping.
“Have you been a good boy?”
Another moment’s thought and a nod. My questions were nothing if not scintillating. After all, I used to do this for a living. Okay. Hey. So I’m out of practice. My impromptu interview turned more into an interrogation than a simple question and answer. And this little guy was good. I didn’t even get name, rank, or serial number.
What do you want for Christmas?
A shrug. Then a wide grin with the diminishing sucker clamped between his teeth like a T-Rex with a slow Neanderthal. That sucker wasn’t going nowhere. He would have let his teeth be pulled out before relinquishing that treat.
I looked up to find I had an audience. The government lady was watching in wide-eyed wonder and so were the mother and other lady relative. I just grinned and went on with the torturous process. I had not thought of water boarding yet. It was a very cold day.
So I played the guessing game:
Do you like Spiderman? Negative.
The Hulk? A nod.
Do you have a name? — Crazy question but whatta kids know? They take you literally. — A nod. I could see I wasn’t going to get anything out of this man of steel.
Is your name Mike? Negative.
The mother caved. “His name is Christopher Rider,” she said.
I was impressed. “That’s a great name,” I said. He beamed and smiled around the sucker.
“That’s a great name for a President of the United States. Would you like to be President some day? — An enthusiastic nod.
So folks. Remember the name Christopher Rider from Alabama about 30+ years from now. Once he gets the bit in his teeth he’s not going to let go. And God help the journalist who tries to catch him napping!
Merry Christmas, Christopher. Christmas is in your name. Make us proud.
Merry Christmas, everyone!