Lots of folks know the lighted Christmas balls are just about spheres of chicken wire all lit up and suspended from trees, neighbors helping neighbors, neighborhood food drives, turning strangers into friends, gathering around fire-pits and greeting all the passers by, interspersed with the best 5K in the world. All of those perceptions, and more, are real. And it's a sort-of periscope to the World to show that community really works, which in internet shorthand looks like #communityworks, #placemaking, #hungerhurts, #foodinsecurity and #LightedChristmasBalls.
Other things happen behind the scenes that help keep the lighted Christmas balls running. Like checking on a handful of food collection depots and utility trailers to see if it's time to pack it up and make a run to the food bank. And chasing down produce managers at grocery stores to score a ton of sturdy cardboard boxes so that the volunteers can pack up the food. And then there's somebody always running out to the food trailer late at night gathering up boxes of cereal, mac-n-cheese and anything else that could ruin, schlep it into somebody's dining room for the night to protect it from the rain and sub-freezing temperatures - and believe me, this was the rainiest December/January on record. And then then there's an early morning or late afternoon meeting of volunteers to sort and stack 900 pounds of canned goodness. nourishment into cardboard boxes, hoist them into somebody's pick up truck and drive this week's haul to the food bank. And then there's a bit of paperwork, transcribing pounds and dollars from another weeks outpouring into a shared Google worksheet.
But somewhere near the winding down of this year's food drive, mother nature dumped a record amount of snow, ice and slush onto two tailgate tents, and they collapsed in one ugly pile of twisted aluminum legs and canvas. See pictures below.
And so while we were waiting and waiting for the snow to melt, Anne ordered two brand new tents (they arrived yesterday) and we looked forward in earnest gladness to this weekend's sunshine, and to getting out and cleaning up the biggest eyesore Sunset Hills has ever seen. As Friday wound down, Daniel called to say UPS had just delivered the new tents. And just as Anne and I were drifting off to sleep, she mumbles, "Oh, by the way, somebody came by yesterday, took down the wrecked tents and took them to our trash cans, arranged the Adirondacks and stacked the camp chairs AND put up a new tent.
This whole season, the lives of our friends, neighbors and us have been on the giving end, and it's filled our hearts to overflowing. And today we got to be on the receiving end. I wish I could describe it to you. This picture will have to suffice. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Anne & Jonathan