Grindle's tweet helps bring joy in trying time

March 19th, 2020

MILWAUKEE -- It started as a joke between Brewers radio broadcaster Lane Grindle and his wife, Ali. And it turned into something rather beautiful.

Last weekend, after Spring Training was suspended and Grindle got home to Menomonee Falls, Wis., he pondered ways to keep four young kids occupied amid the new normal of the coronavirus pandemic. An idea popped into his head. Ali encouraged him to share it on social media.

So, at 5:39 p.m., Grindle took to Twitter:

“What if we all put our Christmas lights back up?” he Tweeted. “Then we could get in the car and drive around and look at them. That seems like a fair social distancing activity.”

He pushed send and didn’t think much of it.

Later that night, Grindle checked his phone again.

“It was getting retweeted and liked, but I still didn’t think much of it,” he said. “But then I started seeing news stories.”

The idea has been picked up by national news outlets including CNN and Fox News, both of which credited Grindle. Local television stations from all over the country have mentioned Grindle as one of those who spread the idea. Good Morning America and The Today Show featured stories of Christmas lights in March. Grindle saw similar stories from the United Kingdom.

“I don’t really think all these people saw my tweet and got inspired by it,” Grindle said. “I think it’s one of those things that a lot of people probably thought, ‘Hey, this would be a good way to lift some spirits in a tough time when everybody is a little uncertain about what the next couple of weeks and months are going to look like.’”

While he won’t take credit, the responses to Grindle’s Tweet have lifted his spirits. They come from all over, including Louisiana:

And Buffalo:

And Boston:

And, of course, Wisconsin:

“I’ve gotten a couple of Tweets from people in Seattle who said they were doing this even before my Tweet in some of their neighborhoods,” Grindle said. “Obviously, they were in the epicenter at the beginning of this outbreak in the country. I think they were probably looking for different things like this for a long time.

“I’ve heard from Texas, Florida. I’ve seen tweets from all over the map. It’s kind of cool. It’s neat how so many people can be positive in a time where there’s so much negativity with the news that’s coming in. We don’t have a lot of positive news right now, so anything we can create that’s positive, I think, is good for us.”

Grindle stressed that the most important step people can take is following the direction of the experts about how to impede the spread of COVID-19. The Grindles have been doing their part by staying home. Ali Grindle is a teacher, so she has been home-schooling their four children. Lane built a makeshift batting cage in the basement. He said they feel fortunate to be in position to hunker down, and he knows not every family has that luxury.

For everyone, he hopes the twinkling lights bring some joy.

“In a couple of cases, people have said, ‘We saw this tweet, and why not? It gave us something to do as a family and get outside a little bit to put our lights up.’” Grindle said. “I saw one person say they turned it into a teaching moment for their kids. They learned about positivity.

“I’ve seen responses all over the map. It’s been pretty interesting.”