North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

May 31, 2012

Danielle Pelkey: Despite burglary, this is a good place to live

By Danielle Pelkey
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — The north Jefferson community is the absolute best community to be a part of, hands down. This statement may not seem like what you expect to hear from a woman whose house got broken into this past week, but it is the truth.

I came home from work Tuesday evening to find that some thieves had helped themselves to most of my worldly goods. There is a switch that goes off when you’re in a helpless situation and you can either flee or fight, and I’m happy to say that fighting is my first instinct.

As I walked through the door of my house, it was obvious that someone had tampered with my door. It was even more obvious that someone had taken my television.

At that moment, the mind starts to wander and thinking becomes rather blurred. Thank God I had the common sense to make my daughters get back into the locked car and wait until I had checked the house to make sure the perpetrators had exited the premises.

While walking through the house, I went ahead and called the police so that I was on the phone with them while assessing the damage. Oddly enough, they took only my flat screen televisions, my stand-up jewelry box and few smaller items.

I was relieved to see that the house had not been completely ransacked, but my heart sank when I started to think of things that were taken from me that day.

I couldn’t care less about the televisions. They are easily replaced and we rarely watch them anyway. But the family heirlooms that were contained in that jewelry box were irreplaceable. These were the things that the crooks couldn’t get $2 for at the local pawn shop, but no amount of money in the world could replace.

My mind immediately went to my Mawmaw’s engagement ring and wedding band that I had so carefully placed at the top of the jewelry box. I wore them to every special event the family held — weddings, Thanksgiving dinners ... any time she would be especially missed, those rings were worn. Now they were stolen, never to be seen again by the members of our family. My mind quickly went to the jewelry and heirlooms that my Grandma had given me.

One precious piece was a leaf pendant that my dad had given my Grandma when he was 6 years old. He got it for her at a fair and bought it with his own money. Grandma gave it to me just a week before she passed away. Now, some low-life thief has probably thrown it into a Dumpster somewhere since it holds no monetary value to them.

There was also jewelry from India and Israel that we had gotten through different trips that I or my family members had taken.

Needless to say, my heart was broken as I thought of the precious pieces that would now never be handed down to my daughters, as I had originally hoped.

But my tears couldn’t last long in this community, because as soon as people started to hear of what happened I was getting phone calls and visits left and right from those who wanted to help out. Oh, there was nothing that they could really do but offer their condolences and let me know that they were praying for me and my daughters.

On top of a financial loss, there is an overwhelming loss of the feeling of safety that floods through your veins when you realize that while working, someone else, an outsider, has been in your home.

But with the amazing citizens of this community, there was little need to worry. No, people were offering to spend the night with us and let us spend the night with them until our home felt safe again. And that is why we are blessed to live here.

We are surrounded by good people in Jefferson County. There are a few bad eggs, but don’t let that make you miss the people who are genuinely good. We are blessed, indeed, to have the neighbors that God has given us.