By Julie Ray
“Santa and I go way back,” said Chris Owens, athletic coordinator at Singleton Community Center. “ I suppose that’s why he does me such a huge favor.”
Owens is talking about the fact that for the last five or six years during the Christmas holiday Santa has not only visited Bartlett but ridden in the crows nest of the Bartlett fire engine of the Christmas parade.
“I started writing to letters when I was in elementary school. I lived near Oak Elementary growing up. During middle and high school I lost touch with Santa. After graduating from Bolton High and attending college, I got this great job at the community center, “ explains Owens. “I hadn’t written to Santa for at least twenty years and I decided to drop him a line on behalf of Bartlett. I asked if he would do us a huge favor and be in our parade. I told him how much it would mean to the children of the Bartlett community and myself, of course.”
Owens said that even though it had been a while since he had made contact with Santa, Santa remembered him immediately. Santa also remembered how much Bartlett and Christmas meant to Owens and agreed to make the trek from the North Pole to Bartlett for the parade and tree lighting. The only problem Santa has had to date, Owens states is that sometimes riding in the fire engine bucket the electrical wires are close to him. Once, waving to the people of Bartlett, he almost hit the wires.
“I’m more careful now,” said Santa. “Besides the wires though, there is no place to sit in the bucket and no room to bring any of my elves or reindeer.”
Owens said that he has the secret number to the North Pole and will lose his privileges to talk to Santa if he gives the number out. So that for now, Owens speaks to Santa for all of Bartlett. Many thanks to Owens and Santa for helping Bartlett celebrate a holiday tradition.