December 24th: Panic. We got to Bailey and her boyfriend Cory's cabin in the mountains (Big Bear, CA) at about 4:30 pm Christmas Eve. After a mild panic when Karen's Jeep Liberty equipped with her Christmas tires, started sliding backwards down the hill on Eucalyptus street in Sugarloaf, we got the Jeep into 4-Wheel Drive and managed to get to the kids' house without further incident. But then it hit. The map commercials about AT&T have some relevance at this winter wonderland 7000 feet above sea level. Bailey has Sprint; Cory, Verizon. They both have service. Mine and Karen's iPhones; not so much. Then the real horror. I still have work to do on Christmas music on http://martiniinthemorning.com/ and Cory can't find his wireless Internet adaptor. I have no phone service to get calls or text messages from Shaneh Woods, Jeff our IT Guru or Al the Engineer or the Accountants to tell me we're off the air.
No Internet! Even if I had phone service to take those off-air calls, no Internet connection allowing me, through the miracle of modern technology, to fix the problem. These kids are living in primitive conditions. Never mind the California King size Tempurpedic mattress (we sleep on an antique double bed with a mattress well beyond its "Use By" date) a kitchen stocked with far more food than we ever have at home, and every video game device known to man. No Internet connection?!?!!? How will these kids survive?
The Dawn of Christmas Morning. I'm the last one out of bed. So maybe there is something about those Tempurpedic mattresses. Although, just like when we're in hotels, I'm used to our tiny little bed. I rolled over a couple of times during the night and couldn't find Karen. Do they make Tempurpedic mattresses to fit antique bed frames? It could also be the altitude, the fresh blanket of snow and the smell of pine trees all around the house. It could be the smell of the real wood fire burning in the fireplace and the hot coffee my brother-in-law had brewing at 6 am. There is something special in the air. Maybe it's Christmas. Maybe it's a little relief from what has been the most challenging year of my personal and professional life. I've lost jobs. I've gone through divorce and become a single Dad without a clue of how to move on. None if it could have prepared me for 2009. This has been harder than anything I've ever faced. Maybe this little break in the storms of life is just what the doctor ordered. The great gift in a stable beneath a brilliant star, the gift that inspires the blizzard of gift wrap and tears of joy over the simplest of gifts, puts even the most troubling year in perspective.
We want our life back. Karen and I have been saying that for some time now. We have given everything to get this business rolling because we believe in it so much. We know we're on the right track, and our friends, listeners and colleagues reassure us we're not crazy. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But from a business standpoint, we're reassured. Everyone has sacrificed. Everyone involved in the business; our families; our friends. I know the new year doesn't begin for another week. But this bright Christmas morning full of family, friends, and the love we all share for one another, gives me hope, that this day, inspired by that new beginning so many years ago, is, as Steve Allen wrote, The Start of Something Big.
Merry Christmas from somewhere so far away from L.A., so far away from the troubles we left behind yesterday. The troubles that won't seem quite so overwhelming tomorrow. You, our friends, listeners, colleagues, and the artists whose music we play, inspire us to continue. It's been a tough year for everyone - but this this special day, inspired by that first Christmas, gives us hope for a brighter new year. Right now the smell of bacon sizzling in the fresh mountain air is inspiring me to get moving.