I had a physical therapy appointment at noon last Thursday. The office is about 4 miles from our farm so it only takes about 10 minutes to get there. I left the house with just that much time left before noon. I really don't like leaving Lindsay home alone so I try to make sure I am gone no longer than necessary.
A couple of items had sold from my eBay store overnight, so I'd packaged those and took them with me. I hate having those things hanging over my head so so I planned to kill two birds and drop them off at the post office on my way home.
At the end of my appointment the therapist decided I should have some time with heat packs on my abdomen. When she brought them in, she told me to lay there as long as I liked, she needed to move on to her next patient.
I doubt I laid there for even a minute. I looked at the time and decided I rather get home to Lindsay than lay there. I did drop my packages off at USPS. Since I'd purchased my postage online, I bypassed the line leaving them on the counter. My little side trip took all of 2 minutes.
As I came over the top of Graham Hill, I could see the smoke. I knew immediately from the color of it, something was burning that shouldn't be. That road is flanked by lots of fir trees and other Pacific Northwest greenery so you can't see my farm from it until you actually turn the corner onto 288th. Still I hit a point in the road that I could see the smoke crossing the highway. It was heading across Meridian like it was some kind of freight train running from the west to the east side of my road.
My heart began to race since there were few options to the source of the horrible smoke. I tried to convince myself it could be the neighbors on the corner or maybe even farther down the road, but something told me it was my farm that was going up in flames.
Even as I turned the corner and saw the maze of emergency vehicles stretching from one end of the road in front of my farm to the other, and even spilling over onto that of the neighbors' on both sides, I tried to tell myself it could be a wreck with a car on fire or something..........anything but it couldn't be my place. My daughter was there, home alone.
The denial was brief as my brain flicked through possibilities as fast as any computer. My eyes darted for a place to park the car because there was no way I was getting any closer on foot.
I struggled getting the car's transmission into park. Then the key didn't want to come out of the transmission. It felt like my feet were running before they even hit the ground. I stumbled but willed myself to my feet even though my knees were trembling and my mind racing. I was searching for someone who might have answers before I was even stable on my feet.
I ran to the nearest fireman asking if my daughter was OK. He asked if I was the home owner and when I confirmed I was, he told me a young woman had escaped with her 2 dogs. She was up by the mailbox as we spoke.
There were so many rigs and so much smoke, I couldn't even see Lindsay but knowing she was safe allowed me to stop running so I could reach her without falling. It had been a gruesome physical therapy appointment and it was nearing time fro my next dose of pain medication,this new stress was already taking its toll but no way was I going to allow myself to fall.
I found Lindsay standing right where the fireman had said. She had a death grip on the leashes of both frightened dogs, despite the fact passers-by had offered to help her with them. My daughter was taking no chances she might lose anything else that she loved. Even as I reached her, she would not relinquish either one of them.
To be continued............
The Fire - In Lindsay''s Words
Some folks have asked if we have a donation account aside from this one at go fund me http://www.gofundme.com/rebuildingourhome The answer to that question is "Yes." There is a savings account at Chase Bank, South Hill Fred Meyer Branch. Those who would rather donate through it, can do so by requesting the David Caillier rebuildingourhome account. The advantage of that account is they don't take out fees like Go
Fund Me does.