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.
Last week I had occasion to visit the neighborhood where I grew up in Santa Venetia, also derogatorily known as Scabo. I’m not sure what that stands for but since it’s an ugly word, I’m guessing it wasn’t known as the most desirable place to live. But I beg to differ.
Kids don’t know they don’t live in a mansion. I certainly didn’t. We had 4 bedrooms that weren’t much bigger than some large walk-in closets and closets not much wider than a refrigerator. Now don’t get me wrong; I didn’t care one bit. I had what I needed and that was enough.
Our little house
To me, our Doughboy Pool was the bomb (better known as groovy back then). Other neighborhood dads helped my dad install it. That’s how it was; neighbors helping neighbors. On summer afternoons, being in that pool or playing ping pong on the patio were my favorite places to be.
You know, time clicks by at a pace way too fast for those of us with skin more closely resembling a Shar-Pei rather than the supple, collagen-filled flesh of our youth. As we of this age know, when we’re young, time seems to move slower than molasses in January.
Well, I’ve learned a few things about that subject, like how youth is totally wasted on the young. I think we should be born old and live our lives in reverse, age-wise, like Brad Pitt in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Imagine being able to snowboard at age 90 without a single thought of potentially breaking every bone in our body. And wouldn’t it be nice to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny late in life instead of them only being a memory from the magical world in which we once lived?
And speaking of memory, it’s such a shame to lose it as we age because it’s an essential prerequisite to reminiscing. And what are we without our memories? When we can no longer take a 50 mile bike ride or go on a camping safari in Tanzania because we’re ancient, our memories are what we rely on to remind us we actually had a pretty great life.