October 27, 2007

Fire Saturday

Duck picked this hat to wear. October 2007.

As the firefighters battled the fires in the far away backcountry, it was a social day for us along the beach. As the winds pushed inland from the ocean instead of out from the deserts, firefighters began to get a handle on the fires at last. The 20% containment from yesterday grew to 30 then even 70% at the Camp Pendleton fire as the winds blew the flames back onto previously burned areas.

Slowly the hoards were allowed back into their homes. Marion B's multitudes, plus horses, the cat who slept with her, and aged dog left for far away Jamul and home as did thousands of others. Qualcom Stadium will again house football instead of over 11,000 evacuees. Only a few hundred remain at the Del Mar Racetrack, but there are still areas on fire, and some parts of the back country remain evacuated. Thousands of homes are still threatened.

I’m still an ever-widening lump not walking in the bad air. I took the time to move the worst of the detritus and clutter before beginning a search for a fourth birthday, elusive carrot cake. None at Vons. One at Ralphs….and plates, forks, et al. Lunch of muffin and butter dribbled butter down my bright shirt and led me to grab something out of the closet as I departed. Lack of brains guided me to yet another store for candles….we, the retired smokers, still had matches.

The minute I walked in the door, I was handed the forms and asked to lead the meeting. I could say why me….it always seems to happen, but they could pick someone with a functional brain for this task not me. I did have carefully prepared words that of course departed my grey matter when it came time to present a token and cake. I’m this lovely lady’s work sponsor….when she gets in trouble at work, I’m the one who reminds her to use her tools. So, when handing over my hug I mentioned tools and as a topic mentioned tools and toolboxes.

Each one of us finds a way to make our “program” work. Bottom line for me is “keeping it simple.” That’s a tool. Prayer, writing, talking it over, not isolating, taking suggestions, reaching out…these too are some of the tools to help make new lives out of old. This lady can make her tools work for her in the worst of circumstances. She “doesn’t take things personally,” has learned that “no” is a one word sentence, and can stand up for herself with a smile.. She now has a handle on her new life and is far ahead of where I was when I was four.

I brought her home and fed her. She forgot the “hungry” in “HALT,” (Don’t let yourself get Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.”) and she talked for an hour or so before she too headed out to the backcountry. By the time G arrived, I was draping another shirt down my much dribbled front followed by a light supper…that didn’t agree, and then it was off to the nursing home with costumes in hand.

What fun. We all had to wait until everyone was done eating, then hoards of the staff and patient kids descended on those who wanted to take part. In our out of costume, the halls were lined with folks handing out candy to inventively dressed kids of all ages. Duck never stopped smiling. We were so pleased. After the kids were stuffed with candy, the dining room was turned into an auditorium for a magic show by a magician in western garb called Buffalo Bill Cody….”and at no time will my fingers leave my hands.” This delightful man lives up the block and has been stirring the political conscience of the city for years. This night he made everyone laugh and smile taking away thoughts of the fire for just a little while. Thank you David.

Today we are doing something useful that’s been suggested. Make a photographic record of your home just in case.

I’m tidying just ahead of, “It’s only a record photograph.”

Why does any future insurance person have to see mess,” I retort.

Since we have acres of art work, some of value, G has spent much of the morning going through old photographs trying to catch pictures of some of the paintings we don’t have hanging right now. I’ll take the disc to the bank safe deposit box on Monday to store with our important papers and Ducks papers too. Sometimes, after years of listening, some suggestions seem so very sensible in retrospect.

Me: Gee…….what did I do yesterday. For a moment, I felt just like Richard. My written appointment book told me everything I did. Thank heavens.

G: Work…..in layers. Frozen again under his vent. Wore a coat all day. Can’t wear hats. This is a problem.

Duck: Smiled all night. All night. Didn't remember the occasion tho. Said he had visitors too. Dr. Jay and somebody. We figured out that the other person must have been his old friend John.

1 comment:

  1. A ray of hope that they will get the fires under control. Nice post. Glad you wrote about how to make life work. Thanks.


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...