The next day, April got up extra early to bake cookies to take Grandview Valley Nursing Home along with Santa to visit residents for Christmas. She pulled up in the parking lot and attempted to stack 5 boxes of cookies herself, nearly spilling them all over the ground. Dustin caught a box of cookies right as they slipped out of April’s hands. To April’s surprise, Dustin decided to join his dad on the visit, a shift from the bah-humbug attitude April was used to seeing. Before she could even get a word out, Dustin assured her he was there to help and did not want to talk business at all.
Franklinville Sheriff Bobbie Halland arrived just as the group headed into the nursing home. Sheriff Halland brought Christmas cards decorated by the children of the deputies to spread a little cheer. Dustin remembered Halland all too well from his younger days when the Sheriff made a visit or two asking questions about bottle rockets that showed up in the neighbor’s mailbox, which Dustin of course knew nothing about.
While April interviewed the Sheriff about the Christmas card project, Dustin watched as his dad greeted every resident of the nursing home. One of the staff members mentioned to Dustin that for some of the residents, Santa was the only visitor they had for Christmas, as they either didn’t have family or they weren’t able to visit. That is when Dustin learned that it was Santa who organized the entire visit to the nursing home just to make sure that no one had to be alone for the holidays. He may not understand why his dad continues to spend so much time and effort being Santa, but in that moment he earned a new respect for it.
There wasn’t much time between the visit to the nursing home before Santa and April were expected to stop into the Chamber of Commerce for a special letter-writing event. Snow had begun to fall around Franklinville and the temperatures began dropping. At the base of a beautiful staircase in the middle of the Chamber, Wendy, the Chamber Director unveiled a special mailbox that will deliver letters directly to Santa at the North Pole. Wendy announced that the Franklinville Scoop would be selecting letters to publish in the Christmas paper and the Santa himself would be responding to every letter he received. With just two days left until the big Christmas Eve parade, April’s work was stacking up and she needed to hurry back to the office. She left Santa and Dustin and got to work writing up the day’s events for the next issue of the paper.
The sound of sirens brought her work to an abrupt halt and April reached for her phone to check in with dispatch about all the commotion. Sergeant Ray Lighthouse, April’s sweetheart, broke the news to her that with the snow that started to fall, Brice fell leaving the Chamber and was being taken to Dr. Angel’s Clinic for an x-ray on his hip that was believed to be broken.
April went into full panic mode. What was she supposed to do? Santa still had to visit the school children AND in 30 years Franklinville had never had a Christmas without the Christmas Eve parade and you can’t have a Christmas Eve parade without Santa!
She rushed to the clinic to check on Brice and met Dustin in the parking lot. The look of worry was written all over his face. Dustin told April that the x-rays showed exactly what they suspected, a shattered hip. Santa was officially out of commission for the season. After visiting with Brice and Sara and making sure he was on his way to recovery, April turned her focus to finding a Santa to save Christmas in Franklinville. It seemed impossible. There were only two days until the parade, just one day until Santa was supposed to show up to visit the school children, April had an entire Christmas Day newspaper to get out and she had to decide if she was going to take Dustin’s big city deal or not.
April did what she always did when she needed to clear her head — she headed for a walk along the Little Franklinville Greenway.