Mickey Johnson has loved woodworking as long as he can remember; especially holiday projects that bring a smile.
His “work” starts in July: when tools come out and Johnson’s imagination travels to the North Pole.
“I built the first sligh ten years ago and each year I’ve added a few more pieces. I buy lights on half price sale and then spend the next year trying to figure out what I’m going to do with them. Eventually, it fill up the whole yard.”
If he had his way, Johnson said his Christmas would be up everyday.
Not just for a yard sized “Seasons Greeting,” but something more important to him.
You see, ten years ago his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, but thanks to OHSU and a new cancer drug, she is in remission, feeling well and her prospects are good.
“Right now she is ten years clean – she has to take a pill everyday, but no side effects or anything like that.”
Johnson wanted to give back and his idea seemed right at home for a retired drama teacher who used to design and build sets for hundreds of local high school plays.
He built a sleigh, found a costume and became a Santa.
Now, each evening before Xmas, he warms the cold winter air with his good cheer and he greets all who stop by his Forest Grove yard.
“I wear long johns and fleece pants under the suit – if it’s really cold, I’ll put a couple of toe warmers in my boots.”
Rain, snow, hail – even windstorms – he’s been through them all the past decade.
“People come, bring their kids and sit them down on Santa’s lap and take pictures. We have a big sock here and folks can leave donations for the Leukemia Society. This is my little contribution – whatever we can do helps a little bit. This is a good way for paying back for what they’ve given us.”
It is “pay back” that might help other children; a personal “thank you” that lives year round with the Forest Grove Santa.
You can visit the Forest Grove Santa on evenings, Dec 19-23 @ 1901 Willamina Avenue in Forest Grove, Oregon.