On the way home from grocery shopping with the girls, we stopped at QT. As we pulled in, I saw an older guy walking to the door. He was a pretty rough-looking character with a bushy white beard.
"Hey girls, look at this guy's beard," I said.
Lisa shushed me, fearing he could hear.
"It's Santa Claus," she said, laughing, as the door closed behind him.
Inside, I walked back to the soda fountain. One of the workers was re-filling the 32-oz. plastic cups.
"How many of those do you guys go through in a day?" I asked.
"A lot," he said. "Mostly 32-ounce ones."
"I get one every day," I said. "I gotta cut back."
"Me, too," he said. "I get one every time I'm here and every time I work."
Santa Claus was back there, too, filling up a huge 7-Eleven cup with Pepsi. As the worker walked away and I started filling a couple 32-oz. cups with ice, he came up to me with a confidential air.
"I'm gonna show you something, just because," he said. He pointed to the price listing above the soda fountain. "Look—99 cents for a 32-oz. soda. But refills up to 100 ounces are only $1.09."
"That's a lot of soda," I said.
"Yeah, but what I do is get 100 ounces then take it home and put it in bottles. It lasts me three days."
"It stays fresh all that time?"
"What are you laughing about?" Lisa asked as I settled into my seat a few minutes later.
"I was just talking to Santa Claus," I said.