I haven’t seen pictures.
I’m ten hours away (via car).
My brother’s home burned down on Friday night, while I was away at a retreat (and unreachable).
The house was built around 1970, my dad helped build it. My grandparents lived there. When my grandfather died and my grandmother could no longer live without help, my brother bought the property and house so that she could be in a care facility to care for her needs. My sweet aunts happened to be out to visit their big brother (my dad) and see grandma this last weekend. They were going to watch “The Help” at the local theatre after dinner at the local Mexican restaurant.
Instead they watched their old home burn to ashes.
My brother left a message on my dad’s phone, and they all went, with the 15 fire trucks (local volunteer fire departments and Department of Natural Resources). The house was engulfed within an hour of my brother leaving for work. They had smelled some smoke the night before, but after a long search decided it must have been dust in the long-unused heaters. The house waited to go up in flames until after they were fully awake and gone. The kids were not at home. The cats took off, the dogs took off. The pigs water trough melted – but they were fine.
The shop is gone. The woodshed is gone. The house that has housed my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my niece and nephews, even a grandnephew spent time in that home. Not to mention numerous cousins and extend family members who have memories of gigantic picnics, of pigs and goats, of horseshoes.
I remember falling asleep for nap time in grandma’s bed (they were of the generation of separate twin beds) listening to a music box whose lyrics I never learned, I just would sing “go to sleep, go to sleep” and try to convince myself to do so.
I remember a fairly hideous coloured turquoise carpet.
I remember walls covered in hard bound books and going for the bottom shelf where all the Peanuts, Ziggy and Garfield (and later Calvin and Hobbes) books were allocated.
I remember the records, loads of records. And the dishes drying on newspapers. And when they finally got an indoor toilet (and I didn’t have to close my eyes at the spiders in the outhouse).
And more recently, all the amazing changes Chris & Cherie made to the house, to create their home. A beautiful home that was SO Chris. So full of metalwork that he had created, full of his heart and skill. Full of little touches that I would have never thought of, but were SO PERFECT for their cowboy inspired abode. Lanterns turned into light fixtures, rope mouldings, horseshoe picture frames, gorgeous and intricate metal railings. The old shed turned into counters and cabinets. The incredible deck where we ate Cherie’s amazing food for their wedding reception.
And I have no pictures. Just memories.
I’m thinking about you family. I’m grateful, oh so grateful that you are all safe. That you have the attitude that Ryan sings about in the following link, “We WILL Rise Above, WE WILL RISE.”