Sunday, April 8, 2012


Yesterday we began the cleanup operation at our property. We were not sure how we would feel about it and as we approached the site and saw a small crowd loading sheets of twisted metal roofing panels into the back of a pickup truck, our emotions were mixed. Kristen expressed to me that for her, even though it was destroyed, it was all we had left and didn't want to dismantle it further. I was not sure that the people there would be at all connected to the pain we were feeling, which left me feeling odd because I would not really want anyone to actually experience that. As all those feelings settled out, they were quickly replaced by gratitude.

The community that came together (as listed in my wife's blog) was extraordinary. We had an amazing team of folks from the Evergreen Home Depot along with the donations of equipment and tools. And there was our group of friends that never ceases to amaze me with their level of generosity. We were moved beyond words. The care that was evident in the way people approached this task was no less than the care and attention we used ourselves. They treated it as if it were their own home lying there in ashes. Who could ask for more?

Searching for my wedding ring...

I would say that it is a demonstration of the very best of what makes us human. It has renewed my faith in the ability of people to rise to any occasion and meet the challenge with love and a sense of community.

I also have a request for those who are not part of the active operations in the Keuhster area; stay home. This is not a time to serve the normal human curiosity that arises in the midst of a disaster. The traffic in the area has tripled and I am certain that our population up there has not tripled since the fire. Some folks living near us on Rocky Top, which is a private road, caught some people driving past there house. When they asked them what they were doing up there, they responded, "Like the sign says, we may pass by permission of owner." When informed that they were in fact speaking to the owner, they had no valid response and were escorted from the property. Folks, this is trespassing, and we will protect what we have left. The police are more than willing to help us out.

So, please, show the kind of respect and care that those in our community have so generously demonstrated. And, even though Keuhster is a public road, please stay out if you don't live up there and you have not been invited.

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