Monday, December 5, 2011

A short bit from my bio

     So, even though I'm just 24, I did not even get close to finishing my bio. I thought you might like to read a snippet from my early life.
                                                                    The Fire
The first huge event of my life I can’t actually remember. I was all of a year old and a fire burned down my house and everything in it. We were lucky to get out, but we were all that did. Everything else is just ashes. Probably best I don’t remember much. Just talking about it makes me want to go check and make sure the stove is off. Not only did it create my fire paranoia, but it started a trend of moving every year or so. But, more about that later. First, the fire.

At the time we lived in a “log cabin” on the family “farm.” I use quotes because the “cabin” was 7,000 square feet and the “farm” didn’t actually produce anything. It is more like a family compound. Oh, sure we had some cows but dad could never bring himself to have them slaughtered. Once mom got cow butchered and dad felt so bad he couldn’t bear to eat it and gave all the meat away.

The night of the fire, my mom was cooking pork chops in a cast iron skillet when the phone rang. She ran to the other room to answer it. She told her friend she would call back once she was done cooking, but before she could hang up she heard the popping and smelled the smoke. She yelled “I’ve got to go, there’s a fire,” and ran for the kitchen. She tried to get to the fire extinguisher, but the fire had already engulfed the logs in the kitchen. The smoke was quickly rolling into the other rooms. She ran back to the bedroom where I was napping with my dad. After waking dad and I up, she carried me out with dad following behind.

Once dad and I were safely outside, she tried to go back in to save whatever she could. By then, the fire was already out of control. She could only reach the phone right inside the door. She called my grandparents who lived down the road and told them to call 911. They called the fire department but by the time any fire engines could get there it was too late. Who knew that dry wood sealed with varnish would burn so quickly?

My granddaddy brought his truck and a chain to save the cars that were parked too close. But no car keys. They were melted in the house. All anyone could do was stand and watch as the house burned magnificently. Eventually my nana took me to her house and started making calls to everyone that needed calling.

 One of the most important calls was to one of dad’s friends asking him to bring some clothes for dad to wear. The news teams were already at the gate and Dad only had on his underwear and my mom’s jean jacket that he grabbed on the way out. Now, mom is 5’9” and about one hundred and fifteen pounds at the time. Dad is 6’3” and one hundred and eighty pounds.  News teams covering our loss was bad enough. No one wanted to see dad in tightie whities, stuffed into a jean jacket half his size and covered in soot end up on the morning news. I really want you to get that mental image. It’ll last a lifetime.

After the house was gone and all the coals had burned out the fire department conducted their investigation. The only thing that survived the fire was the defective cast iron skillet that split and dropped grease on to the burner. All the gold jewelry, all the copper pots and pans, every other metal melted into indistinguishable pools that mixed with ashes. But cast iron doesn’t burn.

1 comment:

Jennifer Walters said...

What an incredible story. I'm sorry it happened, but I was also really enjoying your writing. I want to read the next page