There are times when one just wants to spin around three times and click their heels to be teleported out of the madness of this human existence. Sadly, one of those times tends to be the holidays, which seems to bring out the absolute worst in some people. Already we here in Los Angeles are reeling at the horrible story from our backyard, where some lunatic bigneck in a Santa suit crashed a Christmas party at the home of his former in-laws, where he proceeded to shoot the place up - starting with the 8-year-old who eagerly opened the door to him, only to get a bullet in the face for her trouble - and then burned the place down, killing at least nine before going to his brother's house to off himself. Then, today, I read the equally depressing tale of two young boys, cousins aged 10 and 7, who were beaten to death with a baseball bat in a Phoenix park on Tuesday. Not as bloody - yet - is the ongoing saga of Bernie Madoff, the New York investor who was the center of a Ponzi scheme that cost $50 billion and touched everybody from regular folk to Steven Spielberg and the International Olympic Committee and some pretty important charities. While some people and organizations are left flat broke by Madoff's greed, the suspect remains under house arrest - in a posh Manhattan penthouse. And let's not forget the Caylee Anthony story, which gets worse and worse the more we hear about it.
Sigh. Good thing we have stories like that of Summer Moll, a 4-year-old girl in the Tampa Bay area whose very name makes me smile. Her tale begins badly - on Sept. 10 she was involved in a head-on collision on a local expressway that killed her mom and left Summer very badly injured, with a fractured skull, broken arms and legs, and myriad other injuries. (The other driver, by the way, tested three times over the legal alcohol limit and is now in jail awaiting jail on vehicular homicide and DUI charges. Nice.) For a while, Summer was touch-and-go. Pins were inserted in her legs, and a metal plate had to be placed on her skull. Even as she recovered, her grandparents were hit with the devastating medical bills, and a bit of a custody battle emerged between them and Summer's father, who had been out of the picture for some time but now showed up.
But all of that misery and heartache and pain faded for a moment yesterday, because yesterday was Christmas, and Christmas is built for little girls like Summer - especially for little girls like Summer, who need that spirit a bit more than the rest of us. So Summer, who's still in a wheelchair while her tiny legs mend and still has the nasty scar on her head, had the best Christmas possible, with presents galore, including the Maltese puppy that she really wanted, donated by a secret Santa.
All that bounty, of course, doesn't bring Summer's mother back or mend her injuries any quicker. But the smile on her face as she soaked in the love around her must do her some good. It definitely does those who know her, and know of her, a lot of good. Merry Christmas, every one.