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The Night Life Changed – 25 Years Later

January 16, 2012

There are some things that happen in our lives that never, really, go away. Time may pass and life goes on but there’s a part of you that is forever changed.

On January 17, 1987 – 25 years ago – a house fire did that for me. It led to an article of Five Ways to Prevent House Fires article, among others. It results in an uneasy – some say paranoid – sense of (not) calm especially in mid January, whether looking at the day or not.

The details are memorable because it was a Friday night – after a long week. It was a 3 day weekend due to Martin Luther King holiday – so meant staying in a hotel room, provided by the Red Cross. It resulted in the loss of collectibles that have never been replaced and much that cannot be replaced. Awards won in the 4-H dairy project and by Jerry, the border collie who was a 4-H project. Letters and pictures, the high school yearbooks and things that aren’t life changing as it’s just things.

Teaser, my Fox Terrier, and two cats also died in the fire. The cats were never found, Teaser was in the bathroom. Quick thinking on the part of my neighbors got my border collies away from the fire, and for the rest of her live Ina would panic at even a small fire. They didn’t know Teaser was in the bathroom or would have broken a window to get to her.

I learned what good neighbors really mean in the months following the fire. I learned that the Red Cross and Salvation Army and United Way are blessings beyond measure when you have nothing but the clothes you’re wearing, a couple dogs and  a pickup. I learned to not be so proud to not ask for help when needed. I learned to not trust what people say…trust but verify perhaps.

And I learned compassion in a way that perhaps is different – from the other side of it. Hardships truly are life learning lessons. Seeing people stand up and say something is wrong when they didn’t have to stand up makes a difference. They not only stood up but were willing to go to court and testify on my behalf. Twice. The fire department gained new respect, as well as the chief, who went above and beyond.

Every time I hear a fire truck go out I picture someone else in the same situation. Even with that, some remain hateful but negative never wins.

As Garth sang “…I do this so this world will know…that it will not change me.”

Make a difference for someone.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2012 10:31 PM

    Wow…that is a heck of a story. I’m sorry about your pets but glad you were not hurt. I new some folks that lost much of their home to a chimney fire…same thing…they were told it “was fine.”

    • January 19, 2012 9:59 AM

      Thanks for visiting…and it could have been much worse! I had stoked the stove up because I was planning to turn in early. Got a call to make a quick run into town. I’d just gotten my truck fixed – during that quick trip to town it caught. Fire chief said if I’d gone to sleep I wouldn’t have made it out. Neighbors thought I was in there. It happens coast to coast and border to border…but nothing like making it personal.

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