Here it is the day after Thanksgiving--black Friday--and I'm going to my friend Marcy Singer's house with my proverbial hat in my hands. My Santa hat, if you want to be specific.
You see, holidays are especially hard for children in the pediatric ward. Unlike their friends, they don't get to be at home playing with their toys or making the rounds to the relatives' houses for Thanksgiving lunches and dinners. (They'd have to be adults to appreciate that they might be dodging some awkward situations with that last one.) So the administrator of a local hospital asked me to turn a conference room into the North Pole for the weekend.
I have white hair and a white beard, and while I wouldn't say my belly shakes like a bowlful of jelly, I'll admit to a little paunch. And since I look like Santa Claus, I make the most of it every year by being in the Tallulah Falls Christmas parade and making a few appearances as favors to friends. I generally don't begin making the rounds in November, but when Sandra asked, I couldn't refuse. I'm a big softie when it comes to kids.
Today I had my first event at the hospital. It went well. The children were precious. My elf--obtained by the hospital--did a fine job handing out candy canes and coloring books. And then near the end of the event, my elf got a phone call. Her daughter was sick and she was needed at home. She told me she won't be back tomorrow or Sunday.
And that brings me back to why I'm on my way to Marcy's house. I hate to ask her. I know she and her boyfriend Ted flew to San Francisco to see Marcy's mom at the beginning of the week and that they came back to Tallulah Falls in time to have Thanksgiving dinner with Ted's family. And all the Main Street merchants offered special promotions for Black Friday, so Marcy probably had a really busy day at the Seven-Year Stitch to top off her week.
But she'd make the best elf ever. She's blonde, short, and adorable. She has a heart for children. And she has Angus--her Irish wolfhound. I thought maybe we could put felt reindeer antlers on him. The kids would be delighted. I probably shouldn't even ask...but she can always say no, right? What's the hardest favor you've had to ask someone?