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The maids a milking run up the tab

By Staff
Leada Gore, Editor
When I was in third grade, I played a swan in the school’s Christmas play. I had quite an elaborate costume, complete with three-foot neck and a body covered with white feathers. I had one line in the play, something that once you figured the cost of the costume equals about $5 a word.
A few years later, my brother played the Partridge in a Pear Tree in a school play. He wore his normal clothes and a beak and had lots of lines, since you have to say “And a partridge in a pear tree” a lot during that song. His outfit worked out to pennies a word.
It seems the Partridge in a Pear Tree was a much better bargain than the swan in a manger (which didn’t make a lot of sense anyway.)
All of this came to mind this week when I read a story about that famous “Partridge in a Pear Tree” song.
Officials estimate it will cost about $75,122 to provide your true love with the traditional French hens, maids a milking, ladies dancing, etc. etc. That cost is some $5,000 more than it would have cost you last year, something I guess you can attribute to Christmas Carol inflation.
As with most things, the biggest costs came in personnel. The nine ladies dancing will set you back some $4,700, about the same for the lords-a-leaping. The musicians – the drummers drumming and pipers piping – are a little cheaper, only about $3,500.
The milk maids aren’t too cheap, either. It seems they’ve unionized and you will now pay way more than minimum wage for their services. Don’t even ask about health and dental plans or workmen’s compensation insurance, especially for those leaping lords.
The swans are no bargain, either. The seven swans-a-swimming will set you back about $4,000. There’s no word on whether that covers food and upkeep.
The two turtle doves, three French hens and four calling birds aren’t too bad, though by the time you buy a cage and take them to the veterinarian you’re looking at least $1,000. Maybe you should settle for American hens instead.
On the materials side, you can look at dropping at least $4,000 for those five golden rings, unless you’re true love will settle for five gold-plated ones. Even the pear tree itself is expensive, up to about $129.
There are 364 items included in the song, which also brings up major issues about storage and permits, not to mention licenses, insurance and maintenance.
About the only thing that’s stayed pretty cheap is the partridge itself. Experts estimate the small bird will set you back about $15.
Gee, that’s significantly less than a swan costume.

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