My Story, Yours Too.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Camp Fire Aftermath

My Dear Sillies,
   First, an update on Jenny and Joe (last blog post). They've come "full circle," Joe tells me. They're moving into their own apartment--with family nearby--in the same town in which they met and married over 60 years ago.
   "We met in the fifties," he says, "and we're back here now in the teens." Such a clever, sweet man. Our oldest married couple to survive the Paradise Camp Fire: doing great and moving forward.
   I tried to explain about my blog and all. Joe's response was "It was great to hear from you. Thanks for the call." (I so love them!)
   Evacuations were lifted this weekend. All of Paradise was allowed to visit their home-sites for the first time since the terrors of 11/8.
   With her permission, here's my friend Tara sorting through the remains of what was her family's warm loving home. [Note: they had to wear protective gear -- potentially high levels of toxins in the rubble and ash. She told me I should've worn her outfit; it was too small.] Deep gratitude to my friend for allowing us a glimpse into this most intimate experience. 
   I'd been in their home several times. I can't even believe this is that place wherein we shared stories, music, berry pie, and amusement in watching the cat scuffle about.
 
   Although Tara found nothing worth salvaging, she finally slept through the night. The process afforded a sense of closure.
   Other friends have retrieved a few pieces of precious jewelry, porcelain doll parts, a clay teapot made in high school, a Christmas Nativity scene. One couple uncovered a 25 year wedding anniversary ring. It's all very bittersweet, chilling and heartwarming. Surreal.
 ~~~~~~~~~
   I can't be sure, but I do like to believe that generosity is felt more strongly than ever, across our entire region.
   Or maybe I'm appreciating it more. Or maybe it's the holiday spirit. Perhaps, then again, I didn't appreciate it as much before. Whatever the case, we're more readily looking out for each other.
   Upon returning to my car after a grocery run on Sunday, I found this note.
   The fact that a stranger took the time to inform me, wow. I don't look at my tires. A nice man had slowed his car to tell me about the same tire shortly after 11/8. I immediately got air in it, then forgot about the darn thing. (Note to self: Check car tires once in a while.)
   As luck would have it, with note in hand, I saw Les Schwab only yards away.
   But they close at 5p. It was 4:42p.
   "Okay, give me the keys. We'll take a look," the friendly employee said.
   They had plenty of work to do, and they were closing, but a few minutes later Andy greeted me. "Let me show you why I can't fix the tire." Andy walked me through the shop and pointed out a 3-inch long gash in the tire. Not to worry, he'd replace it.
   And then he'd say "You don't owe anything."
   "You're wonderful, Andy."
   I was home by 5p.

   I know, compared to what my local loved ones are going through--a ruptured tire on a car that didn't burn, and that I'm able to get fixed immediately--piddly stuff. How lucky I am!
   Kindness abounds and makes everything easier. That's the point I'm trying to underscore. I know you know this. It's worth remembering, and reminding each other, as much as possible.    


Have a safe, warm week that overflows with kindness.
Love you.

36 comments:

  1. Little things like that sure can go a long way. Had tires down before and been told when I didn't see.

    haha clever way for him to use the years indeed.

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    1. I love his sharp wit. If I live to be 90, I hope I develop his wit.
      Thanks, Pat.

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  2. Everything about that tire was a blessing. Good people are still out there.
    Good to hear Joe and Jenny are doing well.

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    1. Yes. Good people are everywhere. I'm very fortunate, and I need to pay more attention!
      Thank you, Alex.

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  3. YAY for peace of mind on your new tire!! Good people are everywhere. So glad for the nice note or it could of been dangerous to you and others on the road.

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    1. Yes. People do care.
      Thanks, Holli.
      All good things to you.

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  4. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to go through personally or as a witness to the aftermath. People show amazing fortitude, resilience, and thoughtfulness.

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  5. Kindness should be spread like confetti. Even more liberally than confetti.
    Loved hearing about Jenny and Joe. And mourn with and for Tara and everyone else hit by the flames.
    Hugs.

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    1. Yes. All of that.
      Much gratitude for your huge heart, EC.

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  6. I would give anything for a Les Schwab around here. They truly are the best. My heart breaks for your friend and community though.

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    1. They are by far the best - so lucky they're nearby.
      Thanks, JoJo.

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  7. Kindness always rises to the top. And it's quite contagious. How wonderful that people are helping each other after this heartbreaking incident. Sending you hugs from way up north. xo

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    1. I like that - kindness always rises to the top. True and nicely put. Thank you, Martha.
      Hugs back to you.

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  8. All heartwarming stories. The ash and the air around it can be quite toxic which is why firefighters are now encouraged to stay on air through even after the fire is out when inside a structure that has burned. I can't image how those who escaped from Paradise feel.

    www.thepulpitandthepen.com

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    1. It's too much of a nightmare.

      Take care, Sage.
      Thank you.

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  9. I'm glad that Jenny and Joe are doing well, and that Tara has found some closure with the loss of her home. And your tire story warms my heart. What a wonderful world this would be if everyone took the time to be kinder and more helpful than we tend to be, rushing about, all caught up in ourselves.

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    1. Oh what a wonderful world. So much sweetness, so much tragedy and sadness. And so much sweetness again.

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  10. Everyone needs that closure even if they don't find anything.

    What a nice person to leave you a note about your tire.

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  11. So glad, but not at all surprised, that you survived with your clear eyes unfaded and all the colors of your spirit flying. You are invincible.

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    1. Your words lift me up, whenever I have the pleasure of reading them. Thank you, special lady.
      It's great to see you, Margaret.
      May life be treating you as you deserve. (And that's VERY well.)

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  12. Beautiful stories about beautiful people, with a beautiful attitude. Thank you!!

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  13. It is the little things and the big things (like big hearts) that do make the world a good place. Have to keep it all in mind. Glad your senior friends are full circle - bless them. And glad your friend could sleep. Good post and just right for this season - keeping perspective.

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    1. Keeping perspective is often my challenge. You do it well, and your reminders help me stay (or get grounded). Thank you, Joanne.

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  14. Kindness (both to us and from us) is our best treasure. Glad to hear Jenny and Joe haved moved forward and are doing well.

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  15. Yes it is - our best treasure, currency, religion, breath. Thank you, kind friend.

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  16. Nobody ever tells me my tire is low. However, plenty of people will tell me it's flat when it's not flat, but it is low. I've gotten in the habit of saying "Not yet it isn't... but thanks anyway." Trying to be polite while also being a smartass, I guess.

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    1. On those rare occasions when I've actually looked at my tires, I do sometimes think it's flat when it's not even low! Oy vey. I like your attempted combination of consideration plus smart ass-ery. I'm not great with that one. It sounds like you're pretty suave with it.

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  17. Hard to imagine what these folks have gone through and particularly this time of year. I'm glad your friend seemed to have gotten some closure. I'm surprised her head wasn't covered with the protective suit. Sweet story about your tire. Glad you got it fixed. There's lots of horror and fear right now politically so it's nice to hear your story about human kindness.

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    1. I think I needed to write this post for myself more than anyone else. Doses of kindness are what's keeping me afloat these days.
      Thank you, Sandy.

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  18. What lovely men those guys are. There are some good people in the world. We just don't know theyre there... until theyre needed. As much as some people disappoint me, others step forward with their amazing kindness.
    I'm sorry for your friends, and hope that they will be okay going forward, not just materially, fiscally, but spiritually.

    Peace and love to you Robyn, and thank you for sharing this rather heartbreaking journey with us.

    Merry Christmas.
    xo

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    1. Merry Christmas, my dear friend.
      It's all there when we look in the right ways and places.
      Love to you.

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  19. In the midst of much sadness, angst, and, sadly, some hatred, it's truly comforting to know there's good out there.
    Incidentally, you're part of the good.

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