This week, I’m taking a break from the news to recount some personal stories shared with me a few years ago by my radio listeners who enjoyed my book, “A Simple Christmas.” 

Recently, police officers have become targets of hatred, assaults and even deadly violence.  Right now is a perfect time to stop and reflect on the many ways in which police officers and other first responders such as firefighters and EMTs give up their holidays so that we can enjoy ours in safety.  Many also go above and beyond the call of duty by performing incredible volunteer work.  One of those was a listener of mine named Randy, a retired police sergeant from Wyoming.  He shared a memory of a time when playing Santa Claus should have come with hazardous duty pay. 

Randy wrote: "For many years, it was my distinct pleasure to assume the role of 'real Santa' at Christmas time. Though my sleigh was still a black and white sedan, my uniform changed from dark blues to a genuine Santa suit. I appeared on Christmas Eve, right at bedtime, delivering toys to needy children as well as my fellow officers…who had small children. What made this all work was the 'understanding' of the parents to make sure the kids were close to the front window upon my arrival, that they were not allowed out on the porch (where I left their gifts) until I was out of sight, and under NO circumstances were any pets to be loose.

All the parents were following Santa's instructions to the letter...until I got to my Chief's house. I gently placed (his sons') gifts on the porch (and) began to shake the bells, anticipating three squashed, tiny faces peering into the frosty night, trying to catch a glimpse of Santa. To my surprise...No faces. I shook the bells harder and added a hearty ‘HO, HO, HO!’ Still, no faces.

Now in mid-‘HO,’ I heard the front door open and a small dog barking. 'For cryin' out loud,' I muttered, as I jumped toward the driveway. If only I'd remembered the small wire fence surrounding his wife's flower bed. There was no time to pick myself up, as I heard high-pitched giggles floating on the cold night air.  A quick double combat roll placed me out of innocent eyes' way, underneath my boss's pickup truck."

Then Randy heard a noise that seemed to be very close: "I smelled the dog food on his breath a scant millisecond before he yapped out the alarm. The 'WHOA!' that jumped from my lips was cut painfully short as I rammed my head into the pickup's driveline... The thought crossed my mind to reach out and pinch off his little windpipe, but that seemed a bit ugly for Christmas Eve."

A pair of cowboy boots suddenly replaced the dog: "I recognized my boss's voice as the words, 'Merry Christmas, heh, heh, heh," settled onto the cold concrete... 'Merry Christmas, Chief,' I replied as a solitary drop of black engine oil struck me dead center in the forehead. 'THANKS FOR NOT TURNING ON THE PORCH LIGHT!'

I continued on my rounds, a black greasy racing stripe running from my white curly beard to my belt, a well-lubricated lump on my forehead. I finished just as a soft snow began to fall, covering everything in a glistening blanket of white. It seemed the perfect punctuation mark to end another Christmas on Patrol."

Thanks again for that great story, Randy.  And thanks to all the police officers and other first responders and military members who go above and beyond, and sometimes even roll underneath, to keep us all safe during the holidays and all year ‘round.

Tomorrow, the story of a small, ugly Christmas tree that just needed a little love (and no, I’m not going to plagiarize Charles M. Schulz.)

More Stories

Harlan Twible RIP

Barbara Bush RIP

RIP Art Bell

Comments 1-5 of 6

  • Anne turner

    12/29/2017 12:55 PM

    Dear Governor,

    Our police are so unjustifiably maligned. Yes, there are a few bad seeds, as we find in all walks of life, but such a very small percentagw. I was recently in a minor car accident, my fault. Thanks be to God, no one was hurt, just my car and a chain link fence. The two young police officers that came could not have been more professional or nicer. I called the police station the next day to tell them about it. They were so surprised to hear a complement.

    Granddaughter of a police chief.

    Anne

  • Donna Marie King

    12/29/2017 11:21 AM

    Thank you for all you do to support our President and his desire to make our country great again. I always enjoy your presentation and you often make me laugh. I thank God for all the changes that are coming about and trust truth and justice will again be our foundation . As a kid I remember the Superman slogan. "standing for truth and justice and in the American way." You demonstrate faithfulness to the cause of bringing back faith and confidence in our beloved country. God bless you, may your tribe increase. I pray and trust we will all have a wonderful 2018. With all the new changes it has to be better than the previous.

  • Michael Egbert

    12/29/2017 10:57 AM

    I too am a retired police officer (Houston PD - 33 years) and remember working many holidays, Christmas, New Year's Eve/Day, Easter, Mother/Father's days, Thanksgiving...all of them...that is until I gained enough seniority to be fortunate enough to not have to work holidays if I chose not to. Once my own kids were old enough and I'd been on the force 18-20 years I remembered an old timer from my early days on the force volunteering to work for the younger officers with small children on Christmas Eve so that they could be home with their families on that most important holiday. What that older officer did (long since retired and passed away) endeared him to those younger officers and was an inspiration to them as well. I was one of those younger officers. My 20th year on the force I followed his example and volunteered to work in place of the younger officers to allow them to be with their families on Christmas Eve. Due to my experience and abilities the roll call Sergeant would allow 3 sometimes 4 officers in my district to be off that night. Sometimes it was busy, other times it was quiet and for the most part uneventful (although alcohol and family arguments many times escalated and got out of hand, even on Christmas Eve which made things a bit difficult but I always managed to make it through somehow. I never enjoyed making arrests on Christmas Eve.) I carried on this tradition of Christmas Eve volunteering for the rest of my 33 year career.

  • Deborah Anglin

    12/29/2017 10:48 AM

    Sometimes Angel encounters happen in hospitals.Working as a nurse in a county hospital one of my patients was dying Cardiac surgeons and nurses didn't think he would recover he had a visitor early one morning his wife described as tall Dr.with blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes came in and sat on his bed took his hand and said you are going to make a fast recovery not to worry.I asked who this Dr was and night nurse said no Dr.had made rounds yet .Their station was across from his room know one had been there.He was not any of the Drs we had on staff.This patient made a rapid recovery went home 2 days later.This is just one of the miracles I witnessed in my career. I really believe this was an angelic visitation.God Bless

  • Richard Palmquist

    12/29/2017 10:28 AM

    Cops are people! The best ones are fully aware of how peopley they are.