As the fires raged in the canyons of Orange County, I thought about my friend - another Suzanne, aka "Momma." Now, I knew from maps that Momma and her hubby, Big Jim, and their lovely 16-year-old daughter, Savannah, were not in trouble down in South County. But I thought about Momma because, damn it, I just knew she would be looking at the situation and stweing over it, thinking, "What can be done?" And when Momma starts a-stewin', you can be sure Savannah is going to get a Life Lesson.
Sure enough, I got this email from Momma yesterday:
As you all know the past week has been difficult, at best, for southern calif. So I wanted to share with you a bright spot in our dark hour. Wednesday SMCHS [Santa Margarita Catholic High School] announced that no classes would be held on Thursday or Friday. All of the kids that I know (that were not directly affected) went to bed with no great thoughts for how they were going to spend their "day off". I know that sounds a bit harsh ... but remember they are teenagers. On Thursday morning I woke up and thought that this might be a opportunity to get them involved in community and outreach for others. After calling" the amazing moms "of Savannah's bff's, I woke up Jamie and Savannah and explained what our evil plot was to be. The mission, should they choose to accept it, was to provide a wonderful gourmet hot meal for as many firefighters as we could. First up was the menu. Savannah, never one to be shy, determined we would make "chicken marabella". This was a great, albeit a challenging, dish. We agreed that wild rice, salad, french bread, butter and of course brownies would round out the meal. After shopping 8 SMCHS kids decended on my house and the cooking began. The kids cut up 14 loves of the freshest bread that we could find. Lauren and Corrin chopped 6 heads of garlic with out a complaint. Trish, Cristin ,Jamie and Savannah diced, chopped and baked a multitude of things. We even had the little girls in the neighborhood (baby Sherri and her gang) come and help with the brownies, and napkin folding.
After the food was cooked (in more than one house) we decided it was time to hit the road, with Michael and Tiffany Nazarian. Our first stop was Saddle Back church, we were told this was a main staging area for the fire fighters .... but they were gone:( So we decided to go to each individual fire station until we had handed out all of the food. Oh, and by the way, we also had six gallons of milk and twelve half gallons of lemonade, along with plates, cups, napkins, and paper towels, everything they would need for a complete meal.We hit the first fire station on Olympiad, the guys there were shocked and over whelmed to say the least. They couldn't believe that these kids had given up their day off to make a meal for them. We set the table, left food for them, and went on to our next fire station, on Marguerite. One again, the kids blew them away. The guys made a couple of phone calls and asked us if we would be willing to drive a little further up El Toro into the fire area to deliver some food for their buddies. Many of these guys had only stale sandwiches in the last twenty four hours. of course, we were totally thrilled to do this. The firefighters from the Marguerite station asked us not to leave them much food but instead take it to their buddies who were on the front line. Our caravan proceeded down El Toro, only to hit a police road block. As I was in the lead car, and never one to be at a loss for words, I convinced the police officer to let us through the road block to deliver the food. I will never forget, nor will the kids, the looks on the firemen's faces, still covered in soot, with their yellow waders streaked with dirt and ash, as they thanked us. It was UNBELIEVABLE. They asked what organization we were with, or what church. I told them this was just some kids from SMCHS who decided to make a difference. They couldn't believe it.As they began to eat they continued thanking us, each and every one of our kids said "No please , we want to thank you." As we left, all of the kids separately said to me how great they felt and that what they did that day was "the bomb" two of the girls told me that they had always wanted to do something like this, but didn't know how. I told them "you just do it, you don't think about it, you put one foot in front of the other and make it happen". Something I know we all tell them every day, but it helps when it's not your direct parent! What a great lesson for our kids.And what great kids we have. So many times we focus on the negative, the test score that could have been better, the room that should have been picked up, the cat box that should have been cleaned (ha-ha) or not in any of our cases, thank God, worse:) I am truly happy I could be a part of the wonderful difference that our kids made last Thursday. OUR KIDS CAN AND DO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!
'Nuff said, Momma!