Somebody had to drive the truck, polish the ice, sell the doughnuts and fight the fire.
It might have been a holiday, but it also was a Tuesday, and not everyone had the day off.
In police cars, nursing homes, hospitals, casinos, buses, convenience stores, air traffic control towers, hotels, trains, taxicabs, movie theaters — at the zoo, on ferries, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord — people went to work on Christmas Day.
• In the 700 block of South 57th Street in Tacoma, firefighters fought a late-afternoon house fire.
Firefighters with the first units responding found that flames already had taken one-fourth of the home’s main floor. Hearing that pets were inside, they saved three dogs and a cat.
“We had to pull one of the dogs out multiple times,” said Tacoma Fire Battalion Chief Jim Scott, at the scene.
Using a special mask, firefighters administered oxygen to the cat, Scott said.
Four engines, one ladder, one medic unit, two chiefs, a safety officer and a standby private ambulance responded to the call.
No one was injured. The occupants of the home were away; they returned as the fire died.
Scott said he looked forward to returning to the firehouse, where a holiday sirloin roast waited in the oven.
• “It’s hard being away from the family for a long time, but it’s harder on the holiday,” said Jessie Napier, a long-haul driver with Atlas Van Lines.
He and partner Larry Banks left Atlanta a week ago Tuesday, hauling furniture. They spent the night at a Fife hotel and spent Christmas morning watching John Wayne movies on TV, Napier said.
“I called my family and wished them a Happy Christmas,” he said, leaning out from the cab of his tractor idling at Love’s truck stop near the Port of Tacoma.
“It’s the first time away from home on Christmas,” he said. “I’m on the road three-quarters of the year. I started out hauling freight and I started gaining weight. I said I got to get with something active, like moving furniture. The old lady said there was two of me coming home.”
“I’ve got a new girlfriend I’m missing a lot,” said Banks. “I talk to her about 15 times a day. You miss your family.”
Napier and Banks were scheduled to leave Tacoma on Wednesday, bound for Spokane.
• It was time for a quick shave, so a dozen skaters left the ice at the Franciscan Polar Plaza rink alongside Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma.
Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” played over a loudspeaker.
Rink manager Chris Joseph, otherwise a suite attendant with the Seattle Mariners, fired up his mini-Zamboni — a golf-cart contraption outfitted to scour the surface of the ice while applying a thin layer of soon-to-freeze water. He drove in ovals, leaving the occasional pile of ice scoured into the consistency of what might be found atop a sno-cone.
At the front desk, John French, otherwise an employee at the Tacoma Art Museum, said, “Today has been slow. Christmas Eve, we had good numbers.”
Back on the ice, helper Joseph Rome, otherwise a worker with High Sierra Camps at Yosemite National Park, helped make the ice ready for the families waiting to skate.
• “It’s slow,” said Kay Oent, working the counter at Dockside Donuts on Puyallup Avenue in Tacoma.
The best sellers on Christmas were “the cream ones, and the apple fritters,” she said.
One customer sat in a booth noodling the keys of a laptop computer.
“People are happy today,” Oent said. “Nobody else is open.”
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535