By Ed Brock
Santa's reindeer are still resting up in preparation for their big flight next week, so the Clayton County Police Aviation Unit gave him a lift on Wednesday.
The Jolly One was making his annual visit to Suder Elementary School on Jodeco Road in Jonesboro where he'd been making the visit for around 15 years. It was 6-year-old Anna Gailey's second time to be there for the visit, though she didn't know he was coming on Wednesday.
"But I knew he was in the airplane because he kept flying around," Gailey said.
Gailey was one of the students in the Suder "Campus Kids" program. The program looks after students at the school between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. while their parents are still working.
About 114 children were attending the program when Santa, a.k.a. Don Simmons, dropped in. Simmons said he started making the visits when his daughter, now in college, attended the school.
Things are busy at the North Pole right now, he said.
"I've got the elves loading the sleigh right now," Santa Simmons said.
But despite the ongoing War on Terror, Santa said he hasn't had to take any extra precautions.
"Everybody loves Santa," he said.
All the children at Suder Campus Kids are excellent, Santa said, and some of them certainly felt like they've been good enough to get some nice presents.
"I want a CD player," said 6-year-old Daniel Smith. "And a desk, and a Gameboy. Oh, and a shovel ... just kidding."
James Douglas, 7, said Wednesday was his third time to see Santa at Suder. He wants a "hover copter" and a toy race car.
"One of those big, huge race cars," Douglas said. "I have 22 things on my Christmas list."
Emmory McIntyre, also 7, said he needs a new bicycle.
"My bike is broken," McIntyre said.