After feeling so sad for so many people who have been evacuated from their homes because of the fires in Utah, we got a call day before yesterday at about 4 p.m. from our neighbor in New Harmony who said, “Richard, I’m sorry to tell you that your cabin down here in New Harmony is gone!” A fire jumped the freeway, came up that ravine by your house, burned the dry grass leading to your house and the place caught fire like a torch. I’m sorry but I can’t tell you any more, I’ve got to go because my house might be next!”
The news was stunning! How could that happen to us? It seems as though things like that only happens to other people! After the initial shock we realized that, even though it did have several valuable Indian rugs and wood carvings, it was just stuff.
Rick/Dad, who tends to get emotionally attached to things was emotionally attached at the hip to that beautiful little place where we keep our horses in the winter. As we talked it over we realized how grateful we were that no one was in there and that there were no valuable papers, photos or records there. We were also glad for some insurance, although of course, it was underinsured. We thought we might be able to build a better barn with the insurance money.
Then we called Jonah and Aja who had lived there for many months while they were building their house in St. George and loved that little place as much or maybe more than we did. We knew that had a lot of food storage there and some furniture and clothes there that they had stored while they were out buying and flipping houses in Washington state and Hawaii. We knew they would be sad.
They were at Sea World in San Diego with their kids and as they registered the shock. Then is when the fire became a real tragedy! We didn’t realize that they had all their most precious things stored there: their designer wedding album, Aja’s journals from her growing up years and both of their high school yearbooks, even Prom dresses as well as the kids’ baby books, Jonah’s life history book that I had given him at his wedding, all the letters, and records of his mission in England, all their memories of study abroad in Jerusalem, as well as all their financial records. The list of precious things goes on and on. They felt that their past had been wiped out!
Since then, they have discovered that they have digital pictures after 2002 which was helpful and last night I combed through all our old albums and found some treasures from Jonah’s childhood as well as my pictures of their wedding which softens the blow just a bit. They had called their professional wedding photographers to see if they still had negatives of their wedding but they had sold the business to another company and threw everything out in 2008. Slowly we will gather things to fill in their past and they plan to do an oral history of all that they can remember from the things they have lost. But it’s still so painful to feel that your past is gone!
Those who are emotionally attached to what we called our Kolob Cabin (we had a spectacular view of the the five fingers of the Kolob Canyon from our porch), better decide whether or not you want to see the following pictures which another kind neighbor sent yesterday. Here we go:
First the smoke. This is from far away. See our little cabin amongst the trees…
You can see the fire coming….(our crazy neighbor is planting our field of rye grass on his tractor as the fire approaches).
This little deer on the lower left is getting out of Dodge!
I think this helicopter is on its way to somewhere else.
We was our view of the fingers of the Kolob and the burned out trees and berm.
The Insurance adjuster went by and took some pictures today of what was left. He was standing in the back of the house. We think that black rectangular thing is the cast iron pot-belly stove.
About all that’s left is the concrete support posts.
Even with the tragic loss of the precious records, things like this makes us realize how fleeting life is that the only thing that really lasts is our relationships. We are ever more grateful for our family and friends!