Sunday, May 10, 2009
This is the view of the fire behind our friend's house. The friends who were looking after Lucy on the Wednesday afternoon. LK took this picture from Gelson's parking lot after we'd finally been reunited with Lulu. Believe it or not the fire had died down a little at this point as the winds were calming.
This afternoon we went up to LK's Dad's house to help them unpack and to see the damage. The trees at the edge of his property were singed and they are unbelievably lucky to still have their house. This is the view from their back deck:
While we were helping them unpack their cars a firetruck drove by with some no doubt very tired firefighters all the way from Orange City, CA - nearly 200 miles away. They parked the truck in front of my father-in-laws house and piled out to help unload the car.
Then they picked up brooms and started sweeping all the ash from the drive and the deck.
I'm not kidding, look:
They even offered Anna a tour of the fire engine. She declined the mommy blogger dream photo of her sitting at the steering wheel with a fire helmet on. Apparently she's a little scared of fire engines these days. Can't imagine why. Three wildfires and two evacuations and the kid's not even 4.
As a paltry thankyou we gave them a bag of (no doubt) smoky fruit from LK's Dad's citrus trees.
"Hi! Thanks for saving our house! Here's a lemon!"
They thanked us and promised to make margaritas with the limes.
Mmm, margaritas with sweaty firemen.
This Mothers Day there are 30,000 grateful Santa Barbarans returning to their homes. That's a third of the population of the town. Basically, if you weren't evacuated you were housing someone who was. Despite the terror, the frantic packing and re-uniting, there was such a wonderful sense of camaraderie that is only rarely seen in this often snooty town. Hotels gave evacuee discounts, people took in strangers or took care of friends children if their parents were stranded. We ourselves had an 86 year old neighbour of our father in law staying with us until we in turn were evacuated - quite what she made of sleeping in Anna's princess bed is another story I'm sure. All over town there are homemade signs on every street thanking the firemen and the police, and I'm certain their money's no good wherever they try to buy food or drink.
On this Mother's Day I'm sure each and every Mum is re-entering their freshly smoked home, so happy to be back and re-united with things they thought they might not see again.
I'm certain a few of them are on their 10th load of laundry having hauled their entire jumbled household contents back inside thinking - some Mother's Day this is. This sucks. I want a rain check.
OK, maybe that's just me.