Human Interest

In the Fry’s Cottonwood parking lot Friday, Dec. 18, a crowd of car enthusiasts formed to follow Santa Claus on one of his season’s earliest deliveries.

St. Nick climbed into his vintage brown truck — a vehicle sporting a six-shooter pistol welded to its stick shift — honked the horn and whooped. Like a team of reindeer in reverse, a line of mint-condition classics followed the jolly old elf west along State Route 260, south toward the Verde River and finally to Shannon McDonald’s door.

As one, everyone began unloading presents from the back of Santa’s truck. McDonald came out, her three children — Chance, 8, Noah, 12 and Kassi, 14 — in tow. The two boys hadn’t known a thing and didn’t even try to hide their joy, while Kassi admitted to hating secrets enough to have wrangled the truth from her mother.

“I knew, yes — the boys didn’t,” McDonald confirmed when the presents were tucked under the tree. “Wow, this is amazing, you guys. I can’t even tell you what it means to us.”

Even though she’d known that Classic Treasures Northern Arizona Car Club had chosen her family for its second annual Cruising and Blessing adopt-a-family event, McDonald admitted that she hadn’t known quite what to expect.

She didn’t even know the identity of the person at Emmanuel Fellowship — the church the McDonalds attend — who had recommended her to Classic Treasures.

“It’s a blessing,” McDonald said. “We’ve had a rough year.”

Emotions written large on their features, co-organizers Luis Guevara [Santa, if it must be known] and Bill Meyer looked on as the McDonald children opened a few pre-Christmas presents.

“I have an announcement to make,” Guevara said, calling the packed room to silence. He turned to McDonald, revealing what up till that moment been a secret: A last-minute donation. “You told us you need new bunk beds. In the next few days, we’re bringing you new bunk beds.”

Meyer also stepped forward. “I’d like to say — you’ve blessed us. We’re just the conduit.”

“We’ve all been blessed in so many ways,” Guevara agreed. “This is our chance to give back.”

The giving, in fact, will not end at McDonald’s house. According to Guevara, the club raised enough funds this year to repeat Friday’s act of giving. The week of Christmas, the retinue will set out again, bearing holiday spirit and a truckload of goods and toys.

For Chance McDonald, however, it’s all about his family, right now.

“I’m just happy this is happening,” he said.


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