Dear Egg Harbor Township Fire Department,
"I live in the 'We Think We're Better Than Everyone Else' subdivision. This year, please do not bring Santa Claus and his loud siren to our neighborhood on Sunday night. That's the night 'Yellowstone' is on my 188-inch TV and I don't want Santa and his merry band of loud men to interrupt me and my pudding cake while we're watching Beth on the big screen."
OK, that's not real. I made it up. That's way too crazy, right? No one would possibly do that.
Or would they?
In a post to a private Facebook group (we won't identify which one) a local resident (we won't identify that person) pleaded with the powers to be to have Santa tone it down this year and lay off the siren when he swings by the "Holier Than Thou Cul de Sac."
Here's a snippet of what was posted:
"Every single year animals cower, children cry, and adults curse this insane, loud ritual of straight ear-splitting sirens with the intent to let us know that sweet, kind, (and usually makes extremely quiet entrances), Santa Claus is in the neighborhood. On the contrary, it is terrifying. I would like to suggest that, instead of the sirens, perhaps play extremely loud Christmas music. There must be something better than the sirens. The same sirens allow people the knowledge that something is wrong and that there is rescue nearby. Please. I think the pups in the area would petition if they could."
Well, we found the Grinch!
I have several thoughts on this person's complaints and I have numbered my thoughts for easy referencing later.
1. It's Christmas! Lighten Up!
2. For years, as they grew up from this little `til this big, my own kids, and countless others in EHT looked forward to Santa riding into the neighborhood late at night. It was the one night of the year that they were allowed to tear out of the front door in their pajamas and run to the sidewalk to welcome the Jolly Old Elf's arrival. The sirens were their only warning that "tonight was the night!"
3. The arrival of Santa to the neighborhood! Kids of all ages (and adults) went outside to greet Santa - and often each other. Heck, since we're now in the age of "livin'-on-the-screens" it may be the only time of the year that neighbors actually see each other all at once!
4. In addition to welcoming Santa, his arrival with the sirens and fire truck was also a way for us local residents to wave and sort of say "Thank You" to the volunteer firefighters who not only cart the big guy around, but work to keep us, our family, and our homes and businesses safe all year long.
5. We don't care about your stinkin' dog! OK, that's a little harsh, it's not true. We love animals. But, this is CHRISTMAS! It's an hour or two a year. Think of it as a challenge: you have 364 days to prepare and train your pet for this event that happens only once a year.
6. Do you think a couple of thousand years ago people complained that the Christmas Star that showed up in the sky, welcoming another dude to the neighborhood, was shining too bright? "It's too bright! My dog keeps barking at the shadows it makes!"
Merry Christmas everyone - and thanks again to all the volunteer firefighters of EHT (and everywhere) for what you do year-round. I'll make sure to give you a wave when you come down my street.