Saturday, June 21, 2008

Verna -- and fire weather

Have I mentioned Verna? Our relationship began more than 25 years ago when Christie left and I moved to existence mode for five years or so. No time is a good time for a non-custodial parent to snatch a child. On the advice of attorney, we did not fight, although we would have won – at the cost of very legal fees and a very angry teen-ager. But Christie is another story not properly told here. Suffice it to say that Vera was the mental health counselor who worked Groveland at the time. Ray went on to assist her in group therapies, and we became good friends. Ten days after I got back from Hawaii, Verna wrecked her car and landed in the hospital. She was discharged to transitional care (read rehabilitation) five days later, and left transitional care eight days after that. I have had her here for a week. She had nowhere else to go. Her daughter is in Illinois, one son is in Arizona, the other 4 or so hours away in Napa Co. Nobody has time for Mom. OK, Roger came from Arizona and dealt with the car. I am very thankful that I didn’t have to do that. But he runs a small, private school in Sholow, Arizona and had to get back for summer session. Admittedly, Verna is difficult at best. She is strong-willed and stubborn, lonely and loud. She needs to feel like she is the center of attention – although she will deny that to her dying breath. She didn’t break anything and has no major lacerations, but did get a severe concussion that has an intermittent effect on speech, balance, mobility, and memory. So she is on a walker, using the tub transfer bench and bathroom grab bars, and depending on me to cook and do the heavy stuff involved with caring for Goldie, her 50-year-old parrot. Thankfully, Verna can get to the bathroom on her own, and can bathe and dress herself.

Meanwhile, the cold weather has lifted and severe fire weather has arrived with a vengeance. We have already had several major fires between Sacramento and Redding, one in Stockton, and several in Santa Cruz Co. There is one burning now near Watsonville on Hwy 1 north of Monterey that in less than 24 hours had destroyed several multi-million dollar homes. The strawberries in your market probably came from Watsonville if they were grown in California. About 1:00 this afternoon the temperature here was 89° outside and 90° inside -- 95° in my all-but-attic bedroom. So it’s beach shorts, bare feet, and all the fans operating. Suddenly the sky got very dark, the thunder began to roll, and a parade of fire engines started up Ferretti Road. Everyone is on lightning lookout – Groveland Community Services District, California Department of Forestry (or whatever they are calling themselves these days), Stanislaus National Forest fire crews, and the folks at Yosemite National Park. Nobody wants a fire in our neighborhood. The scanners are running again – this, after all, is why we have them. We learned it is important to know WHERE the fires are, and WHAT they are doing. So far, the only fire call has been a fire on Oak Grove Court at the other end of the subdivision and 5 or so miles away. Not far enough when the wind in blowing in your direction. Now I’m hearing something about smoke east of Pine Mountain Lake. There’s a lot of country east of the subdivision, but we’re on the northeast end … Thank goodness we’re on the road that is the last line of defense for fires coming up the river canyon – they will not defend houses on the other side of the street, but will defend ours to keep a fire out of the major part of the subdivision.

Darn. In my current chaos/non-order, I have no idea where to put my hands on some of the most precious pictures and other important stuff. Best also make back-ups of my genealogy files for the safe deposit box.

Pray for the fire crews out there on the lines, and for those who have been burned out. Give thanks that you and I are not among them. Pray for rain. Look for those silver linings! Keep praying …..

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