Andrew Jackson walked into the little café downtown and took a quick look around. A Christmas tree twinkled in the corner and various holiday decorations gave the room a cosy, warm, winter glow. Andrew walked over to the usual table and sat down with Grant Toews and Albert Hedman who were waiting for him there. “Merry Christmas,” he said looking over at the three little boys who sat at the next table. “Who are the three little guys?” he asked.
“Jan’s nephews I think,” said Grant. “Probably Mike and Tina’s kids.”
“I think you’re right,” said Albert taking a sip of coffee. “They look a little like Mike.”
“Yeah they do,” said Grant, then shook his head. “Poor kids.”
“I’m gonna find out,” said Andrew. He leaned over towards the boys’ table. “Hey fellas,” he said cheerfully. “Nice costumes. You guys skipping out of a Christmas Pageant rehearsal?”
There was a moment of silence before the biggest one shook his head. “We got a break,” he said, “and Auntie Jan said we could come for a doughnut. Our Christmas Program is called The Gift of the Magpie.”
“Magi,” corrected the little boy in the middle. “The Gift of the Magi. Magis come from the East, but magpies don’t.”
“Yeah,” said the mid-size boy beside him. “Magpies come from the dump.”
“You guys are getting free doughnuts?” said Andrew. “Do you think I could be in your program?”
The boys looked doubtful. “I don’t think Jesus had a Grandpa,” said the smaller one, which made Grant and Albert laugh.
“So who are you guys, the shepherds?” asked Grant.
“Nope,” said the bigger boy. “We’re the three wise guys.”
Andrew looked at Grant and Albert. “Hey,” he said, “so are we.”
The little boy spoke up again. “You can’t be,” he said. “That’s too many.”
“You sure?” said Uncle Albert. “How many are there supposed to be?”
“Three,” said the little boy.
“Uhuh,” agreed the mid-size boy. “There were three guys, because they brought three presents.”
“Really?” said Andrew. “What kind of presents did they bring?”
There was another moment of silence while the boys thought about this.
“Not very good ones,” said the little one.
“They brought Golden Frankensteins, or something like that I think,” said the bigger boy.
“And Smurfs,” said the little one. “Smurfs are OK,” he added.
“They brought something else too,” said the middle boy, “but I don’t know what. Probably a rattle or something because He was just a baby.”
“I thought Smurfs were blue, not golden,” said Albert, grinning.
“Those were the olden days,” said the middle boy. “Everything was golden.”
“Or silver,” said the little one. “They didn’t have as many colours back then.”
“My dad says when he was little they only had black and white,” said the middle boy. He paused. “Is that true?” he asked.
Andrew nodded. “I remember those days,” he said. “Say,” he continued, “do you think Baby Jesus liked his Golden Frankensteins and Smurfs?”
“He didn’t care ‘cause he was just a baby,” said the smaller boy. “When he got bigger He probably turned them into something else. He could do that you know. Like when He turned the bread into fishes.” He paused. “I wish I could do that,” he said.
“Really?” said Andrew. “What would you do if you could?”
The little guy thought for a minute, icing sugar glinting on his lips. “Well, I wouldn’t make fish,” he said, turning up his nose. “I’d make Pizza Pops for all the hungry people in the world.” He paused. “And I would turn my PlayStation into an Xbox” He slid suddenly off his chair. “We have to go,” he said, and the three wise men jumped up and raced each other for the door.
“Watch the ice on the steps,” Jan yelled after them from behind the counter.
“Bright kids,” said Andrew as Jan came over with a fresh pot of coffee. She grinned.
“If we grown-ups were half as wise, we’d figure out a way to do it,” she said.
“Do what?” said Grant. “The Gift of the Magpie?”
“No,” said Jan. “Pizza Pops for all the hungry people in the world.”