on tuesday night, i didn't sleep well. amely was up numerous times, trying to crawl into our bed, get water from the refrigerator, "doing peepee." i was exhausted. and i gave up coffee for lent. it's not been pretty.
i was crabby and planning to just finish cleaning the office to avoid real interaction or sharing my bad mood with anyone else. as we pulled up to school, the kids engulfed the car - it's an awesome feeling, especially when jewel and i walk to school and the kids run up the street to hug and hold our hands. but that morning it was different.
"directora - did you know that a baby died last night." "melanie - did you hear about the fire?"
and little by little - pulling one piece of information from each child, and realizing that, yes, in fact, a child died last night in a fire that consumed three homes. three. and even though the fire station arrived in a timely fashion, it was just too late.
it's been weeks since it's rained. and houses made from wood, filled with wood and lined up next to other houses of wood is a disaster waiting to happen. like little tinderboxes just waiting for someone to make a little mistake.
i mentally prepared myself as best i could, and walked the two short blocks to the place - it smelled of smoke still, and as i got closer, i knew i probably wouldn't be able to handle it. the empty lots - were filled with people and a local news reporter stood in the ashes and reported on the tragedy.
there is no running water here. no way to get water onto a fire unless there happens to be some in the family tank. and the little tanker the fire fighters have might not be enough to do the job.
i asked what happens now. three families are homeless. an 11 month old baby is dead. there is nothing left save the box springs from the beds and a few cement columns that made a porch-fence. does the community help? and as i was met with blank stares i realized again that there is nothing material in this community to give. and that made me sad.
until one woman spoke out and said once the reconstruction starts, the men will come with their hammers and nails. and a little boy said and the women will drink coffee and laugh a lot.
this community will survive. it will console its neighbors, they will rebuild - one piece of wood at a time. because that's what they are - a community.