PORTAGE | Some 15 years ago Joe Mokol's son asked him that if Christmas was about the birth of Jesus Christ, where does this Santa fellow fit in?
Like a good parent, he gave his son an answer.
The answer turned into a book, "The Bottom Shelf Elf," published by Authorhouse.
"I never really wanted to write a children's book," said Mokol, a 23-year-veteran of the Portage Police Department.
He, simply, wrote a quick story about Bantam Elf to give a plausible explanation linking Jesus with Santa. Over the years, he said, he'd let people read the story and they were always positive.
At times, he'd tweak the story about the smallest of elves trying to find his place in this world. As Bantam travels the world, he runs into the Three Wise Men, who lead him to the baby Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas. He brings that knowledge back to the North Pole and shares it with a fellow named Kris and the tradition of Christmas gift-giving begins.
About five years ago, with the encouragement of friends and family, he decided to have the story of Bantam Elf published.
"It was completely and utterly by accident," Mokol said about becoming a published author. It was also a long process, but then he opened the first box of books.
"It was kinda cool," he said.
Mokol dedicated the book to his two children, Jimmy and Emily, who are also characters in the story.
This year Mokol read the book to a group of children during the city's annual Christmas event.
"It was the first time I read it to more than one kid at a time," he said.
He also will be able to read it to his first grandchild, Jase, born in September.
Mokol's not sure if there's another book in his future.
"If my son asks me another question, I might," he said. The book is sold online through several sites.