May this find you in good spirits, and looking forward to a fun, yummy Halloween.
For now, a little detour to share segments of my short story on my experiences jumping in as a volunteer in the Camp Fire's aftermath. A true story. [I've submitted this piece, Good Lies, for publication. Fingers crossed.]
We're approaching one year since the devastation of 11/8/18. Phenomenal recovery continues. So too does intense sadness and loss, hardship and pain, sickness and death--seemingly unending residue of that monstrous force.
Below, with me, you'll meet Joseph.
internet stock photo
Good Lies --part I.
"Are you doing okay?" Dumb question.
The man stood. His face reddened, as he took two even steps towards me then stopped. "Am I doing okay? Am I okay? What the hell do you think lady? What are you like some do-gooder who’s about to tell me I have to leave, right?"
"Well, I don’t want you out here when it starts to rain."
"You’re f*cking kidding me! I’m not budging." I see that. "Do you have any idea? Any idea what I’ve been through? I stayed. I stayed for 18 f*ckin hours. I stayed to protect my home in Concow. Not just for me, for my neighbors, for my friends. I stayed and kept hosing it down, the lawns, the roofs, the trucks, everything. Only me and my buddy Dan stayed. What do I get for that? It’s all f*ckin burned! The whole town." He turned his head to his side and spit out a wad of saliva. "My only home. My mama’s home. Now you’re telling me to leave. These people are feeding us and being nice to us. It’s like family here. But I can’t even get FEMA help because I lost my ID in the Fire. And you’re telling me to leave. F*ck that!"
"You can’t get FEMA help?"
"No, no ID. You have to have an ID."
That didn’t seem right. "Can I make a phone call for you?"
His demeanor lightened. "Yeah."
"Okay," I extended my hand. "I’m Robyn."
"I’m Joseph. Hey, I’m sorry. I’m just," he huffed, "It’s been one hell of a year." His eyes welled.
"I’m sure it has."
I plopped down on the ground, pulled out my resource list, and called FEMA. Someone answered. She was helpful too. I wrote step-by-step instructions for Joseph, and I gave him my number.
He said he’d be fine taking it from there.
He wouldn't be. Stay tuned.