Akey mistake: When is a labor dispute not a labor dispute? When an "employee lock-out" actually occurred because the man with the keys was late getting to work.

The Deseret News received a call Thursday morning from an upset Deseret Industries employee saying there was a labor problem. In fact, he said, there's an employee lockout.A reporter hopped right over there to check it out. When he arrived, the reporter found business as usual. Workers were busy unloading trucks full of items for the final Christmas push.

Upon inquiry, the reporter found no labor dispute or lockout. The man with the keys to unlock the store had car trouble and showed up late.

So much for a hot news story.

A higher calling: The Rev. Garret Edmunds called all the children to the altar for his homily during the 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Provo.

Do you know the most important thing that is going to happen tonight, the Rev. Edmunds asked the 30 or so children seated around him. Yes, one child said. Santa Claus is coming.

That's the second most important thing, the Rev. Edmunds said, and went on to explain the birth of Jesus Christ.

He ended by telling the children to rejoin their parents. But the priest's stories obviously impressed one little boy.

As the children returned to their seats the youngster stood and shouted out that he had something to say. Santa Claus also brings presents to robbers, bad guys and thieves, the boy said.

To which the Rev. Edmunds replied: That's a very interesting, nice thought. Keep it up and someday you can have my job.

An ornamental moment: Former Provo City Councilwoman Barbara Smith has Christmas tree ornaments bearing the names of each of her children and grandchildren.

While decorating the tree, Smith asked her granddaughter, Jane, daughter of Utah County Assessor Ron Smith, to find her family's ornaments.

"Here's my dad's, but he needs a hooker," Jane yelled out.

Kids say the darndest things.

Hot topic: Provo Mayor Mike Hill introduced Gov. Mike Leavitt this way at a recent reception: "He's been the governor a year and he's already set the state afire."

Watching the clock: Speaking of the governor . . . Like most parents, the Leavitts sometimes have a difficult time finding baby sitters.The Leavitts bribed their 10-year-old son with a quart of ice cream to watch his 3-year-old brother for one hour during an event at the governor's mansion recently.

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During Jackie Leavitt's speech that evening there was a clatter at the back of the room when the 10-year-old boy burst in.

"Mom," he said, "it's been an hour. Your time is up."

Kids do the darndest things.

"Loose Change" appears in the Deseret News on Mondays. To reach Dennis or Brooke, call 374-1162 or send us a fax at 377-5701.

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