Home. Family. Life. Health. It is all really tied up in one package. And if you ever forget, you get reminded.

Last Tuesday, everything very nearly changed forever.  The neighbor next door managed to make a bad mistake. It involved gasoline, a vehicle on fire and wind. Thank God for a series of events that led to us seeing this happen.

I was ready to rest a bit. Mom needed to go to the post office. So, I didn’t lie down, we drove a half mile to the post office instead.  That and stopping to inquire about a package brought us on our drive home at exactly the right time.  From the side street I drive down, we can see our place and the two other lots clearly.  Not long ago, before knowing that the people on the corner do custom metalwork (and have a forge which when in use produces smoke) I was alarmed seeing smoke there once.  So, now I seem to always glance across to our place.  This day, I see our neighbor in front of a vehicle that has a fire in the engine compartment.  It had just started but was going great guns.  Did I mention that this van had not moved for 11 years?  He was trying to start it, thus the gasoline involvement.  Fortunately the neighbor HAD mowed around that area recently and while the van was still sitting in dry grass, the tall stuff was gone.  Which is a good thing, or my house likely would not be where I am typing this from.  We tore around and pulled in, stopping a distance off.  I yelled to him, asking what I can do, he yells “CALL 911!!!!”  He did have his cell phone pressed to his head, but good old AT&T kept dropping his call and he had not gotten through.  He also was unprepared for a fire, no water or fire extinguisher at hand.  I got through on my phone, and  got 911 on the way.  We alerted two neighbors, who both went to see if they could help, one with shovel in hand, the other bare handed.  His fiancée later told me he was tossing aerosol cans away from the fire next to the  Connex box that the neighbor uses as a workshop. Living rural, we have a volunteer fire dept.  It was something like the longest 17 minutes of my life.  My son was hosing down embers behind our cottage building long before the water trucks got there.  He saved our place.  The wind was blowing and it was headed right to the cottage.  The tank trucks finally got there and got it put out.  I have never been so thankful to have help arrive  in my life!

Next door wreckage, photo by Ruth Ellis

Next door wreckage, photo by Ruth Ellis

This all happened when if mom hadn’t needed to get something in the mail, I would have been lying down in my room on the other side of the house.  My son was again working nights, so he had gone to bed.  Mom would have been resting.  And no one would have gotten 911 on the phone in time to keep our place from becoming ashes.

Our neighbors were great. People appeared from miles away. People who were concerned about us, knowing we have animals, came to help if needed. Thank you all.  Not being alone with crazy things going on helped.

The fires in Colorado, the tornadoes, hurricanes, mother nature is kicking us humans around a lot.

All I can say is be prepared.  Important documents in a quick to grab box.  Or a safe deposit box at the bank.  Know where your leads are for your dogs. Halters for your horses and goats.  Do everyone a favor and make sure the horses all know how to lead, tie and load into a trailer.  Animal crates if you have cats or small animals.  Sometimes all the prep in the world isn’t enough though.  Every single thing except your life and your loved ones are replaceable.  Remember that.

Father’s Day is bittersweet for me.  My own father died many years ago, and he was always on his own tangent.  Brilliant and reclusive.  My real dad, some would say “stepfather” passed in 2000.  This is my favorite photograph. I think I was 22 or so.

Pam and Pop

Pam and Pop

He was great, always supportive and man if you did something that wasn’t what he agreed with he would give me “THE LOOK”  Miss you Pop!  My husband passed in 2004 and so, our little family just remembers the good times when more of us were here.  We never know what life has in store for us, or when our number is up. Enjoy each day, every second of it.

Hug those close to you.  Tell those you love how you feel.

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