Appropriately with all the county fairs going on, this past month has been a roller coaster of very high highs and very low lows for my wife and me. Let me take this opportunity to provide an update on what has been happening since our home was destroyed in a fire back on June 18.

  • As far as our recovery goes, things have been moving along. The Dressler family in Reynoldsville was gracious enough to offer the house they are selling as a place for us to stay while we work on rebuilding. Living in the borough of Reynoldsville is different than living in Big Soldier.

Despite the occasional truck air brakes, the nights are quiet. I like walking around and talking to people. It is also very convenient that there are some great places to eat close by and we can see the sign for Cindy’s favorite grocery store (called Gramma’s Store by my grandchildren) from our window.

  • It is has become apparent that I have the same make and model of bright red Toyota truck as somebody else and it is apparent that he/she has a lot of friends in the borough. I can’t tell you how many times people have half waved at me and then looked very confused. I’m thinking about getting a front license plate that says “Wrong Truck.”
  • Despite liking it here, I am looking forward to moving back to the wilds on the outskirts of Sykesville. Things are moving well along those lines. They’ve marked what is left of my house with big bullseyes so they know which one to demolish, which probably brought some comfort to my neighbors.
  • We finished the vacation that was interrupted by the fire. It gave us the opportunity to spend time with the whole family who forced us to do some much needed shopping. That part caused us both to freeze at times. We lost everything, do you replace everything? One item at a time, it seems.

We both agreed that we could get by with fewer things than what we had before the fire. I thought our car was loaded until we hung everything up and saw how empty the closets remained, but that’s okay. This is a great opportunity to break the hold stuff can get on a couple after almost 36 years of marriage. Still, my students will be glad to hear I’ve finally updated my mid-90’s wardrobe.

  • Many have asked if we were able to recover family photos. For the most part, yes, but technology has made that a lot easier. Many of the pictures we lost were easy to recover since they were online or on family computers. Some older ones happened to be in a sealed container in the basement, a practice I highly recommend.
  • Over the past few weeks, some have also asked me if I still felt the same about the Pirates as I did in a previous column. Funny story, that. When we first got the call about the house, we went back to our vacation home and quickly packed. I immediately grabbed my Pirate hat and put it on. On the way home, as a distraction, we found the Pirate game on the radio and I listened to them lose and even found myself yelling at the radio and talking about what was wrong with the team completely forgetting why I was driving home in the first place.

Growing up, every kid finds something that brings them comfort. For some it’s a stuffed animal; for others it’s a blanket. For some strange reason I wanted my Pirate hat when I was a kid, especially in times of trouble. It appears I still do.

Finally, I can’t begin to describe the outpouring of help and consolation my wife and I have received from our family, neighbors, friends and community. It has been quite humbling and made this wild roller coaster ride much easier to bear. Thank you.

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