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A Thanksgiving Remembrance





"Daddy, there's sparks on the roof."
I bolted upright and looked out the window. Amy, my eight year old daughter, understated it. The snow around our house glowed with an orange hue like frosting on a birthday cake.
"Quick!" I woke the Little Woman. "The house is on fire. Get the kids up and let's get our of here."
We ran through the house yelling "fire" and got shoes and a few clothes on the kids as the house crackled inside the walls. Running past a window, I could see the flames licking up from our roof in the reflection of the neighbor's glass.
Eight of us (Mom, Dad, four kids and two single ladies)stood in the snow, Thanksgiving morning 1986, and watched the house burn as the firefighters climbed the roof with hoses and chainsaws, subduing the inferno.
Within hours, the crew let us go in and get a few clothes and rescue the turkey from the oven. Yes, the oven keeps flames and heat in the oven, but it keeps them out too. The bird survived just fine.
Neighbors and friends gathered and arranged for us to live with them while the house would be repaired.
Worst Thanksgiving ever? On the contrary, it was my best. I remember watching the activity on the roof as I stood in the snow with boots untied and no socks, overcome with gratitude.
We had our family.
Who cares about the house? We'd rebuild. The kids and girls didn't get a scratch on them. And the family pulled together and celebrated that same morning at my brother's house.
Since then Mom is gone, the loss of a great treasure. Dad's 91 and doing fine, and the kids are no longer kids, but having their own little ankle chompers. And the economy stinks.
Yet, once again I remember that moment when standing literally amongst ashes and loss and thanking God for what was important.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

2 comments:

Mike said...

Wow dude, what a story! Glad everyone was safe. What started the fire? Have a happy and fire free Thanksgiving!

Linda C. Apple said...

Our home burned on Labor Day 1995. It started between the walls at a faulty electrical outlet and ate its way to the attic where I had the dormer windows open and as soon as it found all that luscious oxygen and all those boxes of Christmas decorations and old furniture, did it ever have a feast! My daughter found my office on fire and alerted the family. It was 8pm. My husband was out of town, so me and our five children, our cat with 6 new kittens all ran out of the house to a neighbors yard and watched our home burn. The firemen mad a heroic attempt to save it. But it was a total loss.

I learned a lot from that fire. About what is and isn't important. No one was lost, only stuff. I'm still so thankful!