MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For many people this past Christmas, Santa Claus was missing in action. Not the Santa from the North Pole but the Santa from the South Pole.
Pastor Larry Love was appropriately named because he and his wife Pearlie Mae have a lot of love to give. For years, they have taken on the role of Mr. and Mrs. Claus or the singing, swinging soul Santa from the South Pole.
But last month, the jovial singing Santa was missing in action. Our playmaker Linda Banks explained to us why.
“He had a bulging disc that caused him to not be able to walk, or sit up or go to the restroom,” Linda said.
She told us the bulging disc has kept Larry out of work and piles of medical bills.
“And some of the medication that he really needed, he was not able to get it, until he had to wait until the next month or whatever, but I just feel that we need to bless him,” she said.
It was time to hit the road. Linda loaded up and as fast as you can say ho, ho, ho, we were at Pastor Love’s home.
As soon as we walked in, Linda started counting out $1,000 from News Channel 3 and our anonymous donors along with an extra $100. Larry was touched by this blessing.
“God bless you all. Thank you so much. This means so much. To be down is not easy. It’s not easily accepted because it kind of deviates from the norm,” he said. “I just miss the children, thousands of children.”
Larry started as Santa Claus back in 1997 at the Southland Mall. He used this opportunity to minister primarily to children. All was well until the medical issues surfaced.
“For 25 years, I’ve been able to bless and lay hands on and in so many different ways,” he said. “A few years ago, I had a heart attack. Out of town and they put a pacemaker in me. I got to Memphis and they ended up taking it out and put in a defibrillator.”
Despite the setbacks, this swinging soul Santa is keeping a positive attitude.
“We’ve just had a lot of challenges but God is so merciful. He’s so faithful,” Larry said.