On Christmas Eve afternoon, I was, well, “Christmased.” About mid-afternoon we realized we didn’t have any bread for our Christmas Day meal with nine guests, so off I went to Seabra, where I picked up two loaves of Portuguese sweet bread.

When I got to the checkout counter, the young male cashier rang it up: $10.68. I reached into my wallet and — Zounds! — I only had 10 bucks. I told the clerk I’d put it on my credit card. No, wait, he said, and started rummaging through the penny dishes they always have at check-outs, his and the one from the next aisle over. He counted out the pennies in twos. Only about 38 cents. Again, I said, it’s OK, I’ll charge it.

No, he said, and he reached in his pocket, pulled out his wallet and fished out his debit card, turned the charge machine around and punched in 68 cents.

I was flabbergasted. I thanked him profusely, told him again I would have charged it, and then told him what a nice gesture it was. He said something like, I wouldn’t want you to not have bread at Christmas for a lousy 68 cents. I was Christmased.

In reflection, did I look extra needy or homeless? Maybe. Did he think I was lying about having a credit card because I didn’t reach in my pocket fast enough? Maybe. Or did he just want to do something nice for someone on Christmas Eve?

I’m going with the last one because, you know, little things like that so rarely happen. It should be everyone’s resolution.

Saturday sermon

“Time leaks out, my life leaks in.”

— Phish Feedback

“I am known as the world’s worst wrapper,” writes Terrence O. about last week’s column. “My motto is get it done as quick as you can and it’s over!”

And: “Regarding ‘March of the Wooden Soldiers,’” writes Paula M. “I just saw that movie a couple of days before your question, indulging in a walk down memory lane to my childhood. However, in seeing the answer, I confess my reaction was ‘Cheat’ (Big wink).

“Yes, one could argue it was a depiction of a gay marriage. But I would argue not. It is a ruse; villain Barnaby thinks (as does nearly everyone) he’s marrying a young woman, but in fact it is Stan Laurel in disguise.

“But your question got me thinking. In the end, poor Stan doesn’t realize he has to stay with Barnaby. But instead of depicting a stereotypical ‘ew’ type of reaction, it occurs to me he gives an answer from his heart: ‘I don’t love him!’ followed by the wonderful high-pitched crying he was known for.

“In fact, I had played that scene for my family so we could have a good chuckle over him reaching the high octaves going ‘Ooo hoo hooo!’ That’s a guaranteed smile.”

Thanks, Paula. For the record, I never used the word “gay.” I described it as a same-sex marriage.

So you’re so smart …

Last week I bet you couldn’t tell me which traditional Christmas character has garlic in their soul. My answer: The Grinch. Getting it right were Tom M. (“My first thought was one of the miser brothers. As I’m singing the song, I decided it doesn’t make sense. The only other character that makes sense to me is Grinch. Final answer.”), Ellen C. (“My dad used to read us ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ every year, and we loved the cartoon.”), Karen G. (“This was a gift after last week!”) and Doug W.

Now, I bet you can’t tell me, without looking it up, what part of the New Hampshire auto license plate you can legally cover up. Deadline is noon Tuesday.

Columns for Kids

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Thanks. See you next week.

ORESTE P. D’ARCONTE is a Sun Chronicle columnist. Reach him at opd999@gmail.com.