Posts Tagged ‘home’
We rented, but we cared.
It seems against our nature not to care. Caring for ones shelter is surely innate. But it wasn’t ours, and this became more and more obvious as the years passed.
We planted a peach tree the first year on Second Street. The next spring we raised chicks to chickens and turned our lawn into food.
“You need to cut down that tree when you leave,” my landlord said as I was moving out. “I don’t want to have to take care of it, and it’s too hard to mow around.”
Today I bought someone else’s eggs for $3.50 and ate a peach from the freezer.
It’s old. Maybe 100 years. Hell, maybe 200. The rings are rotten in the middle, so it’s hard knowin’ not countin’.
But Sheila’s house is caving in from the root system hitting her basement wall, and ours is being pushed to its foundational limits.
Half and half. That’s how they split the bill after a local group of entrepreneurs made our decaying red maple into next winter’s firewood.
It was a conundrum. The giant tree sat exactly in the center of the imaginary line dividing Sheila’s property from ours, which we rent. She wasn’t willing to let the expanding roots deform her house any longer. It had to come down. My landlord wasn’t so concerned. He questioned whether it was worth the cost considering the shape of the house and thought it would be more financially cunning to allow the tree its natural right of taking out the house. This way insurance money could be collected and a more profitable unit built.
The tree is down. There’s more sun on the back porch, and Sheila seems less concerned.
Saturday morning started with an early phone call. When the phone rings late in the evening or early in the morning there is always a thought that the call may not be a good one.
Our friend’s house had just burned to the ground. Their giant log cabin-style castle, complete with stone tower, had caught fire the night before and was still burning. The fire department said that when a log cabin burns it takes a little more to get it going, but once the fire starts it burns extremely hot.
Annah and I drove to their place as soon as we got the call. We could see smoke from the highway on the hillside where their house would be. It was worse than we thought.
Everyone was safe, but the house, a mansion-like estate on a small hill at the top of their winding drive, was a charred smoking half-wall.
Tanya had seen the fire start on the second floor and came running downstairs while Andy was placing a log in the fireplace. She grabbed the two children with no time to grab their shoes and ran them to their grandfather’s house next door. Andy, who has served two tours in Iraq, emptied three fire extinguishers on the growing fire on the second floor. He then ran outside to grab the hose only to realize it was frozen. He then ran back into the house and was overcome with the smoke. At this point he realized that there was absolutely nothing he could do to save his house and there wasn’t an item he could save.
Every piece of clothing, every photograph, his grandfather’s gun collection…EVERYTHING… gone.
What do you do for friends who have lost everything except the clothes they were wearing when they left their burning house? Their insurance is good and will rebuild the house, buy new appliances and replace things of value.
Our instincts are to help, but why? How?
The morning after the fire I saw a shocked Andy at the farmer’s market. He recalled a talk with his good friend Bill, who he and his wife spent the night with while their house lie in a smoldering pile a few miles away. “Look at it this way, Andy,” Bill explained. “You just cleansed yourself of all your belongings, and you didn’t have to become a Buddhist to do it.”