When I was little, my mom and dad had a paper route in our small town for extra money. They would bundle me up in the wee morning hours, and we would head to the local laundry mat to stuff and bundle the papers.
After the papers were distributed between my dad’s Mazda and our Malibu, I was loaded up in the back seat of the Malibu on top of the papers. I knew when I hit the actual seat, it was time to go home. My parents did this every morning– Christmas included.
When you have night jobs like a paper route, you get to know the people who are up and about at that hour. We would always seem to run into Tom, our local police chief. (He also served as fire chief for awhile when I was older.) Tom was one of those good ole’ boys that you knew you could count on if you needed him. He would always track us down and make sure we were alright– sometimes passing me candy or a donut through the window.
One particular Christmas, I remember being herded out the front door without being able to see if Santa had arrived yet. We loaded up in the two cars and headed to the laundry mat. When we were getting ready to head out for our route, Tom pulled up next to mom and I in his cruiser.
He asked if I had seen Santa Claus yet. I told him know.
He got on his radio and called into the station.
He asked the dispatcher if he could get an update on Santa’s whereabouts for me.
She came back on the radio and replied he was seen in the north sky and he had Mrs. Claus with him and that his next stop was our town.
I remember Tom hanging up the radio and calling out a jolly Merry Christmas as he pulled away.
All that night, as the papers dwindled down, I kept an eye out for Santa and Mrs. Claus in the sky.
We got home and Santa had been to our house… little did I know that my parents, having stayed up all night wrapping gifts, then had to do their paper route were exhausted. But, they let me open gifts right away.
It is funny the way things work out, I ended up being in band with Tom’s step-daughter– so I was always around him and his family growing up. He always stayed close to my parents.
He recently passed away, but until the day I die… I will always remember Officer Tom making a special call to the station to locate Santa for a tired little girl.