Up From the Ashes – From Slab to Paint in Two Weeks


by Dave Miller

We rushed about in a state of desperate panic trying frantically to do anything to slow the raging beast that was consuming my shop. The fire roared. Time sped up and stopped – simultaneously.

Neighbors dragged my desk and file cabinet out of the office as tongues of fire dripped down from the melting skylight. The call was made “Everybody out, it’s not safe!”

I stood in the front yard with hands on my knees, catching my breath while analyzing what to tell the chief when he arrived. As he exited his vehicle, we walked hurriedly as I pointed and summarized, “The fire is spreading upstairs, that is my office and that is the diesel shanty.”

The fire engine arrived. The chief gave the orders. In a matter of minutes the perfectly orchestrated efforts of well-trained men, good equipment and the knock-down power of foam stopped the beast. They saved the office, diesel shanty and the buildings beside the shop.

My uncle pulled me aside and told me to stop – it was over. I told him I would start crying if I stopped. I stopped, the tears welled up. Indescribable emotions hit me like tsunami wall.

I picked up my daughter. She said she didn’t want to be held and I told her I wanted to hold her anyway. It felt good – to me.

For days the emotions rocked like the tide. Up and down. In and out.

I wrote the following words a few years ago, yet they ring truer today:

Then out of the blue we see daffodil sprouts peeking through the barren ground. Moments ago it appeared so bleak, now it is emitting cheer in a desolate time. Soon the entire garden is flaunting its splendor. A rainbow materializes showing a promise of hope.  We stand in awe. Just when we thought there was no hope and all was lost, that barren dirt transformed into a peacock of color. Beautiful it is, yet only eight inches below the delicate flower is soil. Brown dirt; a substance easily changed to mud with a sprinkle of rain or to dust with the lack thereof. But, nevertheless, the flower blooms. The dirt remains, however it is overwhelmed with an array of grandeur. Hope is renewed, bringing forth confidence in God’s paradoxical plan. A rainbow at the end of the tunnel. In believing that the rainbow existed from the start, we can see optimism in the drear, feel love during the ugliness and have faith in the grip of trepidation. – Good and Bad Run on Parallel Tracks and Arrive About the Same Time – by Dave Miller

Droves of people showed up to lend a hand. Equipment and food arrived in abundance. Oh, I cannot say enough good about this community. They did big things and they did little things. They did many, many things.

Sometimes the little things tug at the heart-strings the hardest; my wife handing me a travel mug of fresh ground coffee in the afternoon as I rush about. Or walking into the barn at night and realizing my nephews cleaned it up. A fellow I met only five hours before the fire showing up the next day to help clean-up.

No matter how great or small, for these many things done we are ever grateful. Thank you everyone whether you helped in deeds, words, or prayer.

We wait nine days before rebuilding, waiting for the go-ahead from the code enforcers. We get tense and a bit angry at the broken promises and arrogance of bureaucracy.

Then it happens, on a Saturday, like ants they crawl across the pad. Working steadily, the walls take form. Swarms start crawling walls. They transform into hungry bears when the women set out the food.

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By the next Saturday the building is closed in with roof on, windows in, dry walling started and most of the siding hung.  I told my wife it sure is good to look out the window and see a shop again. There was something demoralizing about seeing an empty pad where my shop once stood.

This is the Labors of One Week of Building

Then another week of labor, now two weeks into the rebuilding project, it is painted and we are ready to work on the final details.

The New Dawn Breaking on the New Shop

Hopefully we will be getting our occupancy permit by the end of this week.

Hope runs strong when you see the community pull together like this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “When disaster strikes, this community is superior to any around”. When a fellow is in need, a hand is outstretched to lift him up.

I have definitely been lifted up. By God, fellow-men and my strong wife. To all of you, thank you. I could not done without you.

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Published in: on March 13, 2011 at 8:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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