Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Devastation and Miracles

Is it possible for your heart to break, and rejoice at the same time?

A couple weeks ago we got word that there was a fire in Sierra Vista Arizona.  Doc is from Sierra Vista, and his parents still live there.

Shortly after we were married we were lucky enough to rent a beautiful little home deep in Ash Canyon from a doctor (I'll  call him Dr. H) in our church.  He had lived there while he and his family built their dream home just down the road.

I admit that moving to the seclusion of Ash Canyon was a bit of an adjustment for this Phoenix girl... but it didn't take long to fall in love with the quiet.  I used to carry my wash out to a clothes line in a little fenced in yard, and take my time as I hung our laundry out to dry.  It wasn't uncommon for deer to walk by and stare at me, as I stared back at them.

There was a large car port area stacked full of hay for Dr. H's horses, and the deer loved to come every morning and steal some breakfast. 

Occasionally we would have the surprise of havalina.  One of the havalina actually popped the tire of the '57 Chevy that Doc and his brother built (which unfortunately we no longer have). 

We woke up one morning to find our garbage strewn all over the front yard, and the sliding glass door screen completely ripped up, and balled up like a discarded piece of paper.  Upon further inspection we found a large bear paw print about face high on the glass of our door!  I was totally paranoid going out the next morning to clean up the trash... I fully expected to be attacked by a bear!

Sierra Vista holds so many memories for us.  Droid was born there and spent the first couple of years of his life in that little house. 

One winter we couldn't afford to buy any propane to heat the house, so Doc and I make a fire in the fireplace, brought in a couple of space heaters, and hung up blankets to keep the warmth in living room.  We dragged in our mattress, and camped out there for a while.  It's true that not having much money is hard, and it's a struggle... but it definitely does bring you closer.

There was one really cold week that we knew we needed to get little baby Droid to a warmer place, so we stayed a couple nights at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  When we came home we found a piece of glass broken out of our front door... and muddy footprints on the carpet!  The room had been gone through, and the Nintendo '64 (which was pretty awesome at the time) was missing, and so was a big jar of pennies... but hey... they set the VCR for us!

Beyond the house we had to live in, we had family. 

Every Sunday we would go and have dinner with Doc's parents... no one can cook a better roast!  We would stay up late at their house to hear Doc's little sister's report on a church dance she just came home from.  "It was just ... magical!"

And then there was our friends. 

Doc and his friends Ryan and Nathan grew up together in Ryan's garage working on old hot rods.  They built several Mustangs, a '57 Chevy Bell Air ( I got to put in the #3 piston in the '57's 327!)  a '67 Chevelle (that they sold to Phil Mickelson), and of course our favorite was Doc's '64 Chevy II Nova.  While I was pregnant with Droid I used to sit on a stack of tires in the garage and read with the smell of wet sanding and bondo while the boys worked. 

Cherie and Liz moved in and lived with Dr. H's family for a time.  Cherie was going through a divorce.  She was a new convert to the church and didn't really know many people.  Liz was an exchange student from Mexico, and she didn't speak much English at first, but she was a blast to be around. 

Nathan served a two year mission in South America so he could speak Spanish was became Liz's translator.  We all became the best of friends... and we got to watch as love bloomed between Liz and Nathan, and Cherie and Ryan.

Before Doc and I had to move we all met up at a favorite restaurant Ricardo's for a farewell dinner.  It was full of inside jokes and laughter.  Before we all drove away that night we all stood in a circle in a big group hug.  It was a beautiful warm summer night.  I will never forget that moment.

I will never forget the day we had to pack up to move to Mesa so Doc could continue his education at ASU.  Once the Uhaul was loaded and the house was empty I sat on the floor by the fireplace and took a final look around remembering all the great times we had there.

And I cried.

The memory of that little house, and the lesson's we learned from Dr. H got us through the hard times of medical school. 

When Doc decided that he wanted to pursue a medical degree we went over to visit Dr. H and his wife in their gorgeous home.  It was around 8000 square feet, with huge wooden front doors that Dr. H carved beautiful designs into.  Dr. H is a great wood worker and he literally built most of his house himself.  It was a work of art, but what was even more inspiring about his home was his family. 

They have three of the sweetest, hard working kids I've ever met.  His oldest daughter drove the old truck to school... which broke down in front of our little house a couple of times.  She never complained and thought that her dad should buy her a new car... she knew that if she wanted something in life she needed to work for it.  Every morning and evening one of their kids would come over and feed the horses, and then hike up the mountain to feed the parrots that they breeded.  These kids are hard working, humble and just plain good kids.

Anyway, while we were talking to the H's, they gave us a few words of wisdom that doc and I continually remind each other of.

Ten years is going to come and go one way or another... the question is... where do you want to be at the end of those ten years?

Doc and I have been married for over 11 years now, and by the time we are done with residency it will be 14 years.  There are times that we think that our struggle will never end, and then we remember the H's promise that if we can just get through the schooling it will be worth it in the end.

We've often talked about the possibility of maybe buying land and building a home in Ash Canyon when we are done with residency.

A couple of weeks ago we heard about the fire in Sierra Vista. 

And I watched and cried all through a news clip of Dr. H describing how he and his wife watched as the fire got closer and closer to their home, and they finally looked at each other and knew it was time to go.  He said he made it to the bottom of Ash Canyon road when he heard his house blow up.  I'm thinking it was the propane.  Their son said on facebook, "Well... at least the house went out with a bang."

Ash Canyon is gone now.

The little house full of memories is gone.

My heart is mourning for the change... and breaking for Dr. H's loss. 

I can't begin to comprehend what they have lost.  I'm devastated for them.

A week ago we heard that the winds grew to over 50 miles per hour and blew the fire way out of control.  And it headed toward Doc's parents home.

And by the grace of God their home was spared.

Doc's parents live on the left side of the little hill on the left side of this picture.  The fire actually did come around the hill, but stoped at a little dirt road near their property line.  Thankfully the winds died down before it traveled any further.  The little hill served as a great barrier and seamed to have hindered the fire just long enough to save their home.

Ash Canyon is burned.  Ricardo's is burned.  But the firefighters did a miraculous job saving all the homes in Miller Canyon, which the fire burned through... how they did it... I don't know. 

I'm devastated for the loss of so many... but rejoice that much was still spared.

My prayers are still with Dr. H and his family.

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