THE PRICE THEY PAY
The only ones who give more
For the high cost of Liberty
Than those we send to fight our Wars
Is the Military Family.
For a few years and sometimes more
They lend us their loved one
They put up with special hardships
Until the Service time is done.
It's what most of us won't know
Living that fear of every day
Praying their loved one stays safe
In some strange country, far away.
The Holidays are spent apart
Anniversaries will come and go
Some birth days are while they're gone
For children, some will never know.
Some lucky Troops will go unharmed
(At least, nothing you can see)
Some will be hurt and injured
And there's some, will cease to be.
The lone spouses tell their children
They've gone away, somewhere above
But though they won't ever come home
They will always, send down their love.
We owe all of those Families
Much more than we can ever pay
And especially all those children
Who'll miss their parent every day.
We should do all that we can
For all those who pay that price
And a Disney trip would be great
Just something we could all do, nice.
So jump aboard the Snowball Express
And give some kid a special treat
Let them know we care about them
Though we can't make their lives complete.
Del "Abe" Jones
Please help and pass along so all
those kids have a chance to participate. Paypal accepted.
Veterans Day is Saturday.
Why the Snowball Express
by Michael Kerr, Founder
I had one of those days last week. You all
know what I am talking about. It started off
early with my cup of Starbucks spilling all
over my desk. My future wife had called and
the kids had her fit to be tied. I was
behind in my work, papers strewn all about
my desk, a $20,000.00 charge on my Visa I
knew nothing about and my voicemail light
rapidly blinking red from the control center
of the desk. I had to be in Carlsbad that
morning and then back to Newport and then to
Lake Forest for meetings that I felt I was
nowhere near prepared for.
The phone rang and I answered it with my
usual harried and gruff response of, "yes."
The voice on the other end was that of a
friend who said "I need you to meet me today
in Santa Ana."
I protested explaining that I was driving
all over Hell's half acre today and it would
be impossible for me to adjust my schedule
to allow for such a meeting.
His response was clear "I don't care what
you are doing or how important you think you
are, just meet me at this address and don't
be late." Then there was dial tone.
All morning the call angered me. After all,
I was busy, I have a family to feed, a
wedding to plan and clients to attend to. I
tried repeatedly to reach this person and
beg off. No answer. Being someone who hates
to leave things up in the air, I hurried
through my day in order to make the
appointment with my friend.
As I pulled up to the address, I was certain
I was lost. It was a simple home, perhaps
one or two bedrooms located in a rather run
down area of Orange County. There was an
older model car much in need of attention
parked in the drive way and children's toys
scattered about the nearly dead front lawn
leading to the porch. A dog stood guard
behind the dirty tattered screen door
leading to the entry of the home with its
lips up and canines showing. This was
certainly not the home of one of my clients
nor the home of one of my potential clients
so what, pray tell, was I doing here and why
was it so important. The answer would appear
in Technicolor before the meeting came to
A young woman came to the door, very plain
and simple looking. By her appearance I
would guess her to be twenty something. I
introduced myself and she acknowledged that
she knew who I was and had been expecting
I asked about my friend and was told he
would not be there, a fact that angered me
further since I had been pulling my hair out
trying to get to this meeting of unknown
purpose. She locked "Fido" in a room and
invited me in. The house contained a few
small rooms one of which was an office of
sorts with old computer equipment and files
stacked high upon the floor. The kitchen was
a mess with pots and pans everywhere and
dishes piled atop the counter from last
nights diner and this mornings breakfast.
She apologized for the mess and led me to
the back porch.
The backyard was simple and was home to a
swing set, trampoline and a small lemon tree
located in the corner. There were various
childrens' toys everywhere, a football,
basketball, discarded clothing and Fido's
wooden dog house finished off the landscape.
She offered me a cup of coffee and told me
that my friend had explained to her that I
was the founder of the Snowball Express and
she had heard I was a bit discouraged with
the progress I was making with the
organization of this year's event. I was
surprised because I had no idea of who this
little Jane Doe was and how she fit into the
Snowball Express. But I would soon find out.
The phone rang and "Jane" excused herself to
attend to the caller. As I sipped my coffee
I noticed a little girl about six years of
age sitting at a small plastic table
underneath the tarp of the trampoline
carefully preparing for a tea party complete
with plastic cups embossed with the image of
Barbie on their surface.
This struck me since the little angel
was blond and slight and one day would
surely look just like the image she so
adored. I could hear "Jane" attending to her
caller and it seemed as though it would be a
while before she returned. I put down my
coffee and knelt beneath the trampoline
introducing myself to "Jane Jr."
She said "hello" and returned to her
I asked her "do you mind if I join you for
your tea party?"
She looked up at me with piercing blue eyes
and a face that carried the weight of the
world with it and responded "I don't think
there is room for you."
Surprised since there was no one else in the
backyard I pushed the matter with "Well
sweetheart, there is no one else here. Who
are you planning to have for your party"?
Again a cold and emotionless look as she
said "this is for my daddy."
Obviously I was touched and felt like a
complete idiot, but unfortunately I had to
press on. "Is your daddy going to be home
soon?" I asked her.
This time she didn't even look at me when
she responded. "No" Nothing else, just "No.
I couldn't leave well enough alone. "Will he
be coming home from work soon? I asked her.
Again "No" was the reply.
"Well, when will he be here" I asked.
I was not at all prepared for her response
"He's not, he's dead."
I sat there in complete shock. How do you
respond to a child who just uttered those
I wouldn't have to. She took the lead and
with those piercing blue eyes looked up at
me and said "I'm going to see him again when
I go to Heaven and he gets back from the
war." She looked back down at the table and
silently went on to prepare her imaginary
tea party. I could do nothing but turn and
I returned to the porch and sat down with
Jane. I told her of my conversation with
Jane Jr. and she was not at all surprised.
She explained to me that every day Jane Jr.
goes through the same motions. Setting tea
for her father who will never come home. It
seems that he was killed while on patrol in
Iraq. Something called an Improvised
Explosive Device. An eloquent name for
a bomb that kills people. She had heard
about the Snowball Express and wanted to
know if it was really going to happen. I
told her yes, if it was the last thing I
After gaining Jane's permission I went to
Jane Jr. and asked her if she would like to
go to Disneyland. For the first time she
smiled and seemed to be pleased. I told her
she and her mom could come to a huge party
complete with a winter wonderland, presents
and a chance to meet some of her favorite
stars. She sat up at attention, looked
across the table and said "Daddy, we get to
go to a party and then to Disneyland."
Jane and I finished up and she escorted me
to the door. On the way out I spotted
pictures of her husband in uniform standing
proud. Then in the corner I saw a picture of
a coffin covered in the American flag. I
turned to Jane and she was crying. I asked
her why she was crying and what I could do
She told me that Jane Jr. had not smiled
that way in a very long time and that she
had wanted to take her somewhere like
Disneyland but lacked the funds. I told her
not to worry that there were a group of
people in Orange County who would make sure
that Jane and Jane Jr. got their day at
I like to think of myself as a strong man
and one who has seen it all but I must admit
that I cried like a baby as I left that
house because after all I m responsible for
what happened to them and Jane Jr's father
died so I could go on living the life of
plenty here in the United States.
Please help me keep my promise to Jane and
Jane Jr. There are over 1,200 Jane's and
Jane Jr's spread out across the United
States. They deal with the loss of a loved
one to the war in Iraq each and every day. I
want to bring all of them, no matter what
part of the country they live in, out to
Orange County for the event of a lifetime. I
can't do it alone but with your help there
is no reason we can't pull it off. I think
we owe it to them, don't you?