In Monday's post I included a link to a local radio station. The Jeff and Jer Showgram has been on the air in San Diego for over 20 years, and after that long, they all feel like family to me. Jerry shares my love of the arts, and Jeff has stupid stuff happen to him just like me. Then there's Little Tommy. Tommy and I are from the same part of town, the largest suburb of San Diego, Chula Vista. Somehow, even though it is the largest suburb, is seems like most of Greater San Diego has no idea that Chula Vista exists. Because of that, the people share a great pride in their town, and we all stick together.
That's why every year in December I can't wait to hear Tommy's Breaking and Entering Christmas. The idea is simple: Tommy and some of his childhood friends from the neighborhood find a family that is probably not going to have a very nice Christmas. They find some way to get the family out of the house, then they break in, leave a tree, and toys and presents, and then they leave. When the family comes home they don't know what hit them.
Every year when Breaking and Entering Christmas airs, I'm usually in the car dropping off the kids or the husband. As soon as they are all dropped off, I tune in and start my drive home. Then I start to cry. I drive and I cry, and sometimes I pull into a parking lot because I can't see through the tears anymore. Tommy starts by reading a letter. Tommy picks the family to help based on letters sent suggesting a family in need. One consistent theme in the letters is that all of these families are good, hard working people that have fallen on tough times. They do everything they can to keep their families together and healthy, but sometimes have to sacrifice the 'extras' like toys, or heat.
After the letter, the fun begins. They pick the lock and then they start bringing in Christmas. The tree, the lights, the decorations, and the presents. One year I remember they hid 100 dollar bills throughout the house. Imagine the surprise of coming home to this bounty, then sometime in January when Christmas is long gone, opening up the linen closet so you can put fresh sheets on the bed, and finding a hundred dollars!
Tommy does this with just a bunch of regular guys from regular old Chula Vista. Of course being on the radio has its benefits and the event has grown. People from all over the county volunteer their time or donate something. But the idea is always the same. Its not about sponsorship and what company donated the tree or the new bikes; its about helping out a family that needs it without the expectation of being thanked. As soon as they're done, they get out. We never hear what happens when the family gets home.
This year's Breaking and Entering Christmas was so good that I'm still thinking about it two days later, and blogging about it. You can see pictures of it here. When I looked at the 'before' pictures, my life suddenly felt a lot nicer, and I realized I have nothing to complain about. When times are tough, take a step back and think about the things that really matter.
Thanks Tommy, Jeff, Jerry, and everyone on the Showgram. You guys really are a part of my family.