MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (WRIC)—A Midlothian family known for their extravagant holiday light displays nearly lost their son in a motorcycle crash last month, but they haven't let that ruin their Christmas spirit.
The Bottoms have turned their yard into a winter wonderland every year since 1995; their home is part of the Tacky Lights Tour. Every year Buck Bottoms and his sons, Johnathan and Hunter, spend months decorating their front yard for Christmas.
"It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun," Buck Bottoms said, adding that his property sports between 170,000 and 180,000 lights.
"It's hard to do, but it's really satisfying," Hunter Bottoms said.
Just two weeks ago, as they were putting up decorations, they got a call that would forever change their lives.
The Bottoms have won awards for their annual display, and visitors have come from all over the world to see it. But this season just isn't the same.
"This year is definitely different," Hunter Bottoms said.
"It took a dramatic turn on Wednesday evening, the 20th," Buck Bottoms said.
On that November night, 24-year-old Johnathan "Jog" Bottoms went for a ride on his motorcycle. Buck Bottoms told ABC 8 News Senior Reporter Nate Eaton that something was on the road, and the bike slid out from underneath his son.
"I got the call from Chippenham [Hospital], and it's unlike anything I've ever had," Buck Bottoms said.
"They just said ‘critical condition; get here as soon as you can,'" Hunter Bottoms said. "So, I don't know what to think. I'm thinking, "Have I already had my last Christmas with my brother?'"
Jog's ribs and arm were broken, his right pelvic bone was crushed, and his spleen and kidney were lacerated. But he was alive.
"God seemed fit that [he] didn't have a scratch on his helmet," Buck Bottoms said.
Suddenly, the decorations didn't seem so important. But Jog wanted them up, so Buck and Hunter Bottoms went back to work.
"You know, he's here," Buck Bottoms said of his son, Johnathan. "‘Cause there's things that I know that he's concerned about here."
On Thanksgiving night, the Bottoms turned the lights on for the first time. Jog watched from his hospital bed.
"We FaceTimed it to him live in the hospital," Hunter Bottoms said. "He was giving thumbs up."
"He was laying in the bed going, ‘Yeah, Dad!'" Buck Bottoms said.
Now, the Bottoms can't wait for Jog to join the thousands of others who will admire their lights in person this holiday season. He should be home just in time for Christmas.
"It's a blessing to have him still here," Hunter Bottoms said.
Over the years visitors have offered donations to help pay the Bottoms' power bill, which runs around $1,000 a month during the holidays. They've never accepted money, but this year is different; the family is accepting donations to help pay for Jog's hospital bills.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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