This article, originally published Dec. 22, 2016, has been updated with current information
It seems every holiday a fire department somewhere runs amuck. In 2016, a fire department got in trouble for putting up a billboard with a holiday greeting for the residents.
Earlier that year, a department landed in trouble for handing out, of all things, Halloween candy.
And, then, the ultimate crime was committed: Santa himself was pulled over for making too much noise. Yes, it seems the local life savers in Virginia Beach, Virginia were making too much noise with their darn siren while transporting Santa.
Santa was touring a neighborhood atop a fire truck when police, responding to complaints of the never-ending, ear-shattering noise, stopped the holiday outing.
As you know, I am a big fan of this. I’ve babbled on about this holiday tradition before. There is nothing better to get in the holiday spirit than seeing the chubby guy on a fire truck handing out candy canes.
This is the America I know. I couldn’t wait every year for that Saturday in December when Santa turned down our street sitting atop the twin booster reels on a Ward LaFrance Ambassador.
‘Keep it down out there’
In all fairness, let’s not blame the police for this. They had to respond to a report of excessive noise.
Had they not, the complainers would have been at city hall demanding an explanation of non-action by the police. And, they didn’t issue Old St. Nick a citation.
My question in this is who are these Ebenezer Grinches who live in this neighborhood? I wasn’t there, but I promise you this wasn’t being done at 2 a.m.
When I’ve done this, the pumper or whatever usually makes some noise at the intersection so the kids know we are coming and run out to see Santa. It’s not like the siren stays in the same place and operates for hours on end.
In Virginia Beach, after the order for “silent running,” was issued, most kids sadly missed the Santa appearance.
So I have taken it upon myself to explain this to Santa in this open letter I will be mailing later today.
Will’s 5 tips
Hi, it’s Will. Yes, I haven’t written in quite a while, but I still enjoy what you do every year. I’ve driven you around quite a few times to many functions and events. I know you enjoy riding the big red truck as much as we do.
I want apologize for what happened in Virginia Beach the other night. I guess not everybody believes. I have to say, I am middle-aged (ouch) and I still believe.
I always think of the little boy who saw his sister horribly abused one Christmastime and asked me if I thought you would find him. It made a believer out of me.
Anyway, there are a few things I need to bring to your attention since you don’t seem to have a pass anymore.
1. The chimney thing. Yes, that is technically a confined space and requires air monitoring and a secondary entry team in case you get stuck.
2. Flying into major cities. You will need to check with the Strategic Air Command, local air traffic control and adhere to no-fly zones.
3. Reindeer. Most cities prohibit the keeping of wild animals as pets. There are exceptions for service animals. You will have to prove your reindeer are trained and improve your quality of life.
4. If you park on sidewalks or trails, you will have to clean up after the reindeer if they relieve themselves. I’m not sure about rooftop ordinances, but a lot of places have plastic bag dispensers streetside.
5. As has been pointed out before, the workshop needs to be sprinkled. I recommend a dry-pipe system since its cold at the pole. Did you ever have the fire extinguisher class for the elves?
I haven’t written you since I wanted that Minnesota North Stars jersey. Never got that by the way. I have been reasonably good this year and if you come across a Winchester John Wayne Commemorative, I would love to take it off your hands.
I nearly forgot, you’ll need to keep all that “ho-ho-hoing” to a whisper. And, mind the siren, the neighbors are a bit jumpy these days.
The cookies are in the usual place; don’t let the cat out.