Albert stood at the counter in Kresge’s frowning at the array of sponges. Once upon a time there were three to choose from, small, medium and large, all yellow. Now there were dozens, in different colors and all different uses.
Angela asked him to stop and get some new sponges, she hadn’t said what for. He hated these little errands.
Suddenly a small voice came up, “Can I ask you a question?” it said.
He looked down, a tiny girl, five or six?
“Hello,” he said, “Are you lost?”
“No,” she answered, as if it was a silly question. “My mother’s right there.” She pointed to a woman nearby.
“Oh,” he said, for lack of anything else coming to mind.
“Do you usually shop at regular stores like this one?”
Surprised, Albert decided the easiest thing was just to answer and maybe she’d go away. “I needed to buy some sponges, ah, for my wife.”
“Oh, she’s really nice.”
Now really confused at this announcement, Albert said, “Do you know her? Do you know who I am?”
The little girl leaned closer and whispered, “You’re Santa Claus, of course! Don’t worry, I won’t tell!”
It all made sense now. He was in that age bracket, had the white beard, and unfortunately, the round belly too.
Suddenly a voice came down the aisle, “Ginny! Come back here before I lose you!”
“Gotta go!” Ginny said, “Buy the yellow ones they’re the prettiest! Don’t forget me at Christmas!” and off she ran. Albert watched her go, suddenly feeling better than he had in years!
When he got home, Angela got way more sponges than she needed, or wanted, and all yellow.
She didn’t mind though, she also got a husband who was in a lot better mood than he’d been in ages!