Where I live, our new normal seems to include fires that ravage hundreds if not thousands of acres and in the process destroy homes, businesses and many lives. Now don’t get me wrong; I realize this is no way to begin a humor blog but sometimes reality is brutal. We’re now accustomed to planned blackouts during high winds so downed power lines won’t start fires.
My good friends Sharon and Jim recently moved into their beautiful home in the hills of Santa Rosa but had to evacuate last month as fire quickly engulfed the rolling hills leading to their home. They only had time to grab some clothes, important documents and their laptops before fleeing from the approaching flames. (Thankfully, their home was saved.)
This got me thinking of what I’d take if I needed to get out of Dodge, so to speak. That’s a toughie. Naturally, my first grab and go would be my pets. The grabbing part, however, would be a bit difficult with my particular cats. I have 5 of them and just realized I’m short on carriers. Note to self: get more carriers.
The dogs are easy. All I’d have to say is, “Who wants to go for a walk?” They’d be waiting at the door the second I uttered the W word. (Dog guardians know what I mean.) But what else would I take?
I have to admit I’m sentimental so that narrows down my options. Although it’s not sentimental, I’d have to take my green metal box with important documents inside and my computer and laptop. Then I’d head into my office where my photo albums from the last 65 years sit at the top of the closet.
For youngsters who aren’t familiar with photo albums, it’s a book that holds paper images taken by an actual camera, not a phone. Basically, paper images secured onto pages. My family album is there, reflections in black and white of when I was a young tyke in the 50s and 60s. Pretty much my life in pictures.
All those would go into my SUV then I would head upstairs where my Nana’s beautifully carved cedar chest from Thailand resides, a gift to her from my grandfather. It’s filled with hundreds of tidbits, mementos that mean absolutely nothing to anyone but me. I’d have to leave the chest behind but I’d take much of what’s inside.
Let’s see…so much to choose from…Maybe my childhood bear with the eye missing that our dog Charlie ate.
There are the loving letters my dad wrote my mom and all my birthday cards and condolence cards when my parents died. I have my dad’s bongos and the first toy he bought me while on a business trip; my mom’s drivers license and her favorite leopard blouse; my scrapbook from the 70s; dozens of letters my ex wrote to me while in the army; wedding, birth and death announcements. Treasures only I care about.
Sometimes on rainy days, on those rare occasions when I have absolutely nothing I need to do, I sit on the floor next to that chest and leaf through its contents of days gone by. Many happy memories and some heartbreaking ones as well tell the story of my life to this point. I’m often teary-eyed reliving those precious days, cherishing the memories and gratefully looking forward to creating more.