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Belated Condolences

What a week… I haven’t had the energy to post or the ability to form a coherent sentence.

Sunday was a restful day for me. I did laundry and I pulled out the can of paint that I had for my guest room/office. I’m taking the slow and easy approach to painting it. I moved furniture around enough to spread out tarps near a walk and then do that wall. And move on. I started out also re-painting the trim that’s gotten beat up and dingy. A few days later, I’m just aiming to finish the walls and then make a later pass on the trim.

So, while Sunday was a restful day for me, it wasn’t so restful for a friend of mine. She also did laundry and had run a couple of errands before settling down to watch TV with her pet bird. Dozing in the recliner, she was awakened by the sound of someone beating on her doors. Her neighbors house was on fire and hers was next.

If you’re local, you may know where I’m going with this, by the end of the fire in Cumming, GA, five homes were destroyed and another 17 damaged. My friend’s house is nothing but a charred lot now. She got out with the clothes on her back, her bird, a folder of important papers and a baby shower gift that was by the door. Miraculously, she also managed to pull her car out of the garage and across the street where it apparently suffered minor damage. None of her neighbors saved their cars. This happened to a friend I’ve known since my days in Auburn and who I work with everyday.

I didn’t know about any of this until Monday. I didn’t watch the news unlike several of our co-workers and I missed the mention of which subdivision it was on the morning news. After work that evening, several of us went to see her and her parents, who had come to town the night before, at the hotel where she was staying. We brought a care package that was well-intentioned but I’m sure inadequate for someone who has lost everything they owned.

And all week, I’ve felt a mixture of sorrow for her loss and worry about how easily it can happen. Since I was small, I’ve had dreams every so often about my home burning down. I’m sure this represents some sort of basic insecurity that we all have, but mine has always been expressed by fire. I had never figured that there was an actual source to this dream, until I was talking to my Mom about it the other night. Neither of us knew why while we were talking, but after I got off the phone, it suddenly hit me. I suddenly remembered being small and standing on the curb and watching a house down the street from ours burn down. I was standing with my parents and up and down the street other families were watching. I don’t know exactly when this was, but it was on McKenzie Drive, and we moved away from there when I was three years old. I know I had those dreams in that house.

My friend, who seems to be far more together than I would be so shortly afterwards, wisely says that you just can’t worry yourself to death over something like this. But it’s hard for me to accept. If I ever lost my home… I just couldn’t imagine the loss of the family photos (going back at least 6 generations), the stacks of letters my grandmother and her parents, grandparents, etc. wrote to one another…. Or the loss of the pieces of furniture I managed to get from both sides of the family… I would probably still be lying in the dark in the hotel. I don’t know when I would be ready to pick up the pieces again…

Buy a fire box? And what do you choose to put in it? Can I fire box my house?

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