[Courtesy photo]

Everyone does his part to help play Santa during the holidays, but even when gifts are in the mail before the deadline for Christmas delivery, the logistical capacities of mere mortals can fall short.

Jay Stocks would never call himself as great a logistical expert as Santa Claus, but this year, Moab’s postmaster delivered a Christmas miracle that should land him a permanent spot on the jolly man’s nice list.

On Christmas Eve, Provo Postmaster Rick Brandon called Stocks to let him know seven Moab-bound Express packages were in the office, Stocks said. Almost every day of the year, even on weekends when it isn’t distributed locally, the mail is delivered safely into the hands of the local post office. There are only two days in a year that Moab doesn’t get a postal delivery: New Year’s Day, and Christmas Day.

The postmasters couldn’t arrange a truck to make the journey. Brandon told Stocks that if it was important to him, he would drive out himself with the packages and meet Stocks half-way to pick them up.

So, late on Christmas Eve, when all the packages had arrived in Provo’s final express delivery of the day, Brandon loaded as many Moab-bound packages as he could fit into his personal vehicle, and the two men headed in opposite directions toward Price.

This holiday’s white Christmas was already in the works as the postmasters made their way toward the mouth of one of the state’s most infamously weather-sensitive high mountain passes. As Stocks approached Price, Brandon told him over the phone he was still crawling along the highway near Diamond Fork canyon, in near white-out conditions. He wasn’t sure he would make it at all.

“I told him, ‘That’s what rumble strips are for! You know you’re still on the road!’” Stocks recalled with a laugh. The two agreed to split the snowy canyon driving between them, and a few hours later they met at Soldier’s Summit for the holiday hand-off.

This is the reason his family lives in Moab, Stocks said. In a small town, neighbors and friends aren’t lost in the anonymity of house numbers. He has lived in Moab for 16 years, and has been postmaster for eight of those. Since her childhood, Stock’s daughter Amanda Floyd said her family’s Christmas memories have included surprising people around town with Christmas Day mail deliveries.

The first year that her father took them down to the post office on Christmas morning, she and her brother weren’t sure about spending their holiday playing postal workers, she said. He assured them they would only deliver the mail that looked like gifts. They thought they all looked like gifts.

“He said, ‘OK, so we’ll do all of them,’” Floyd said with a laugh. “Once we delivered the first package to the first door – people were so elated. We had a lot of fun.”

It has become a family tradition. This year, Stocks and his children, their partners and his 80-year-old mother spent most of Christmas day delivering more than 90 packages throughout Moab.

This is what Christmas is about, Stocks said.

“It was as much fun for us as the people who were getting them,” he said.

This profile was made possible by the generous support of Rocky Mountain Power.

This Week: Jay Stocks