The other day I had an astonishing phone conversation with French and Mary Lu Wetmore from the Town of Steilacoom. They shared some upbeat information I am excited to pass on to my readers.
French and Mary Lu informed me that John and Niki O’Reilly uncovered a post-onset Coronavirus pandemic problem facing kids living in Steilacoom.
The Wetmore’s news came as no small surprise to me. John and Niki O’Reilly are the proprietors of Topside Bar and Grill, and the Topside Coffee Cabin, (TCC) both of which are located in Steilacoom, Washington.
On many occasions, while sipping a tasty Italian inspired wet cappuccino at TCC, I kept my eye on John and Niki. Watching people is a long-established habit left over from having done undercover work as a cop.
I know John and Niki are heartfelt, industrious, creative, and energetic. If you throw a problem in front of John and Niki, they never shy away from the challenge. Once John and Niki identify a problem, they drive for a solution. That is their nature.
John and Niki learned from watching all the news that our governor proclaimed the Easter Bunny to be non-essential.
Covid-19 has and continues to dramatically impact the lives of kids in our communities. New government social behavior mandates like sheltering in place, no school, and social distancing have turned our kids’ lives upside down.
Social distancing means the Easter Bunny must stay away from all the kids. No Easter Bunny equates with no Easter Baskets.
Think back to when you were a kid. Do you remember getting up extra early to check out your Easter Basket?
John and Niki O’Reilly remember Easter Baskets from their childhood. Their cozy childhood memories motivated them to brainstorm ideas for making Steilacoom kids’ lives as normal as possible while we all deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The O’Reillys wondered, what can we do to help our kids in Steilacoom have a normal childhood Easter?
Brainstorming Idea #1: Drop down each chimney to deliver Easter Basket candy and gifts to every kid in Steilacoom.
Nope, bad idea. I explained to John and Niki getting caught sliding down a fireplace without a bushy white beard and red Santa Claus suit, especially when it is not December 25th, would likely cause the Steilacoom Police to arrest them for breaking and entering. While I can visualize the red suit on John, I have real trouble visualizing Niki in a bushy white beard.
Brainstorming Idea #2: Have Uber deliver an Easter Basket for every child in Steilacoom.
Nope, bad idea. Uber Delivery + kids + Easter Baskets = Governor Inslee yelling at every kid in Steilacoom for violation of his social distancing proclamation. Kids might break the rules, but no kid wants to break an official government mandate proclaimed by our state governor because kids fear being forced to sit out in the hallway of our state capital, just like school discipline Besides, how would anyone figure the Uber driver’s tip?
Brainstorming Idea #3: Operation Easter Egg Drop. Fill 8,000 plastic eggs with candy. Put the eggs and toys in a sack.
Inform Steilacoom kids that if they place their Easter Baskets on their front porch or at the end of their driveway, 30 volunteers from Top Side and the Steilacoom community will drive by and drop a package of candy and toys into their Easter Basket.
In answer to the question, “What about the kids who do not have an Easter Basket?” John and Niki said, “No problem.” Volunteers included an Easter Basket with the eggs, candy, and toys if they knew a basket was needed. John and Niki think of everything.
John and Niki and their crew of volunteers accomplished Operation Easter Egg Drop this past Saturday, April 11, 2020, between the hours of 9:00 am and noon.
In working the project for Steilacoom children, John and Niki made sure to strictly adhere to the rules and expectations of CDC, Washington State, and the World Health Organization.
That’s it; a feel-good story wedged in between all the sad news of the day. John and Niki O’Reilly and their merry band of volunteers accomplished for the kids of Steilacoom what can only be considered a creative and loving community gesture of support and childhood memory building.
John and Niki O’Reilly, Steilacoom is lucky to have the two of you in town. And I am only one of the many people who are proud to know you.