Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Important Stuff

I was talking to my friend out in Northern California tonight about the wildfires that have been ravaging Southern California the past few days (thankfully she's up near San Francisco and is nowhere near where this is happening) and that conversation led to a discussion about what she or I would want to save if ever there were a fire near our homes that threatened to overtake and burn them to the ground.

Cyndi is a major cat person - and I do mean major! - so naturally the main thing she would want to make sure she got out of the house, other than her beloved husband, would be her cats. Hopefully she has a lot of advance notice of any sort of fire as she has lots and lots and lots of cats! I swear the woman is a 'cat magnet' as any and all strays in Stockton seem to gravitate to her. They know they're going to find a kind and compassionate woman who opens her heart and home to them regardless of how disheveled, bedraggled, or feral they may be. Cyndi has a heart as big as all of California when it comes to cats.

The other thing that she said she would have a hard time leaving behind would be her plants and she has almost as large a collection of those as she does cats. Now I'm not talking about silk trees here - I'm talking about a plant that sat in her father's office at the business he owned and is one of the few things she has left from him, a plant that her grandmother had back in 1965 that she has lovingly cared for way too many years to count, and a plethora of other plants that mean just about as much to Cyndi as her menagerie of cats does.

Beyond that - there isn't too much that she said she couldn't live without. Things can be replaced.

I agree with her completely. I can't really think of too much here in my house that I couldn't live without except maybe for some family pictures and maybe a memento or two - and my laptop, of course. Other than that it's all 'stuff' ... stuff that can be replaced if I felt that I really needed to replace it or I could learn how to live more minimalistic. Sometimes I think that minimalistic might not be a bad thing - a lot less clutter to try to clean up around here.

I'm not saying that having one's house burn down is not a tragedy because it is and it has to be more than devastating to those people in Southern California who are coming back to their homes to find them completely gone. I cannot begin to fathom the heartbreak that they must be feeling or the sense of loss that must be pervading their lives right now. In no way am I trying to minimize what they're feeling in any way, shape, or form. I'm just saying that sometimes you need to sit back and take stock of what's really important in your life and what can or can't be replaced.

Despite their losses, I'm sure that those people who have been affected by the California wildfires are still ecstatic that they and their loved ones got out alive - much like those people who lived through Hurricane Katrina and went back to live another day. Your life, your family's lives, the lives of your friends and loved ones, and the lives of your pets - those are the important things to try to save no matter what disaster might be knocking on your door.


  1. You friend needs to keep a removal van in the drive just in case to move all that!

    The only thing I would probably try to save (after MWM) would be family photographs. As you say everything else you can replace.

  2. back in 97 my mom lost our house to forclosure and she moved from a 3/2 house to a 2/1 apt. Therefore we had to get rid of everything that we could bear to part with so it'd all fit in the apt. 3 weeks after moving into the apt it caught fire and burned. We lost about 2/3 - 3/4 of the few things we'd kept. Talk about minimizing!!!

    This my friend is called a LIFE LESSON.

    Aside from people and pets, there is nothing you can't live without....

    Heirloom mahogany bedroom set from my great-grandmother?? I've found something to put clothes in. Baby pictures? We collected pics from other folk who had copies (grandparents for example)...That good old Baby Book where you've recorded every fart from birth to kindergarten? Actually, doesn't amount to much in the long run...(why I've never done one for my kids)

    truly, you can do without much more than you'd imagine.

    now, me, I'd probably try to save all the quilts I have half finished!! (oh wait...maybe not haha) and the one that my grandmother and I did together....but I really can't think of much else...

  3. Saving lives is the only thing that matters when disaster strikes.

    Fortunately, although there has been loss of life in California, it so far seems to be at a minimum. But watching these families return to where their houses once stood just brings tears to my eyes.
    What a long recovery they face!

  4. I actually had my vehicle packed in 2003, waiting to get the word about whether the Stevenson Ranch fire was going to jump I5 and sweep on through Valencia.

    Luckily it didn't. I still remember the things I grabbed and the tough decisions I made.


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