Beating the Odds with Cancer and Fires

Beating the Odds with Cancer and Fires
    "It’s gone,” my husband said. He was glued to a screen, studying maps of the fire, watching it lick up pear orchards, walnut groves, and vineyards. News reports showed flames dancing on ridges and rolling down mountains. We couldn’t take our eyes off bombers screaming over treetops, and weary firefighters surrounded by smoke and familiar landmarks covered in ash. “What do you mean, gone?” “Our house, look, it’s gone,” Gary said. He guided the cursor to a fire map with its familiar red blobs that represent flames and the smaller marks that represent hot spots. Our street was buried under a blob. For a minute, I couldn’t breathe. Our century-old home, the grand old farmhouse we painstakingly refurbished. Gone? I pictured Lauren’s finger paintings in the office, Gary’s model Studebaker in the living room, my beloved ceramic cake plate in the kitchen. How can all that be gone? Two years ago, we watched a similar scenario unfold on our computer. The Valley Fire ripped through Cobb Mountain in Northern California, and helpless, my family watched while it swallowed our sweet house and its spectacular views. Our tenant and his dog made it out with a handful of belongings, and only the shell of his truck marked the spot where our house used to be.
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