Today, when I drove down Hwy 70 to the post office in Glencoe, I drove through the area near Fox Cave where the fire jumped the highway. I drove through the Downs, noticing that the fire came terribly close to the Vicki and Doug and Vicki’s Pinion Pottery. When I went to Glencoe, all I could do was think how fortunate Nellie Ruth Jones and her family are. They were spared by just a few feet and about 4 lanes of Hwy 70.
I drove through the devastation, which extended about 8 miles from me, and could do nothing but think about the awesome Glory of God! We witnessed a ‘true blue technicolor miracle’ yesterday. There is no other way to describe what actually occurred here. There is no other explanation that the Hand of God!
The fire has burned upward of about 10,000 acres. It is at least a mile wide and about 8 miles long. Only 5 homes have been destroyed. With the exception of some smoke inhalation and everyone’s burning eyes and throats, there have been no serious injuries – to date.
Yesterday evening, around 6PM or so, while Josie (one of my best friends), Joan (my neighbor) and I were down on the other side of the complex, taking photos of the fire, the sheriff came around to evacuate the complex. I think one family left. The rest of us were so busy taking pictures and running around like a bunch of idiots that they couldn’t find us to evacuate!
At that time, the fire jumped the Rio Ruidoso. We were taking pictures of a scene perhaps a city block from our condos. (Photo on Right)
A propane tank had exploded. There is a line of trees to the right of this that line one side of the condos.
According to one of the women who lives here, one of the members of a TV crew covering the story, from the vantage point at the Best Western across from the Ruidoso Downs Race Track, said that our complex was surrounded by fire on 3 sides. The wind began blowing our way.
Word began spreading through town that Champion’s Run was going up in flames.
The Lord answers prayers!
Everyone is talking about how fortunate we were yesterday. This is nothing short of a miracle. There is no other explanation. Then again, we have had an amazing amount of prayer. The Pink Flamingo has no words to thank those who have been praying – and you know who you are.
As we start taking stock of what did not happen, I don’t know anyone who is not in awe over the way people and homes were saved through prayer! Even the media who is now in town covering the story is discussing the fact that there is no logical explanation for the fact that we have so far escaped relatively unscathed.
This photo is directly behind my home!
Now, for a little political commentary.
If you were to march into Ruidoso right now and demand that firefighters be forced to surrender some of their pension, pay and benefits for budget cutting purposes, I suspect you would be tarred, feathered, and then run out of town. This afternoon I had the same conversation with a few of my conservative Republican friends. We all agree. These men and women put their lives on the line – for us. Make your cuts elsewhere.
The same thing holds true for the Forest Service. One of the reasons I still have a home, that at hundreds of us do is because of the way the Forest Service manages federal property, clearing and doing controlled burns. It may have cost money up front, but by keeping land clear near communities, they save a tremendous amount of money in the long run.
This noon, when The Pink Flamingo finally emerged to see the mountains in the back of the condo ravaged by fire. I thought I would present a photo of the mountain view in January, rather like a “before”.
This is the “after” – the view from my front door. Even though the pinon and cedar on that first ridge look green, they aren’t really. There is enough fire damage to almost all of them that they will eventually die. For those who have a war against the invading shrubs and trees, that is not a bad thing.
Sunday night (or rather Monday morning), The Pink Flamingo finally had a cup of soup about 1:30AM. Pink Flamingo friend and confidant Sally Vee, who called around 11PM, kept pestering me to get something to eat. I’d had nothing all day. There was no time. I think I finished talking to her around midnight or so. I then began photographing the entire condo, every nook and cranny, for insurance purposes. (I’m uploading those photos to Flickr as I write this).
I finally had time to load the Durango with enough to survive, if necessary. For those Pink Flamingo readers who know the proclivities of your humble correspondent, after taking a detailed photo inventory of my handbags and shoes, I finally grabbed my newest Ferragamo purchase (yes, they are safe) and a half dozen other shoes and sandals, a newly purchased Kate Spade yellow ostrich satchel and matching shoes, and several Louis Vuitton bags. I threw a maybe ten skirts (all color coordinated in pink, turquoise, and blue) along with a stack of blouses and literally tossed them in the Durango.
Then began the treasure quest. It is rather interesting what you think about saving if you know you have a little time and not much space.
- The Bible I received when I was in the 6th grade from Dr. Wood and my grandfather Froehlich
- My grandfather Reidhead’s guidebook to being an elder in the Presbyterian church
- A hard bound copy of God Calling that I have had since the mid 1970s where I’ve made notation for every major event in my life.
- My great great great great grandmother’s shawl
- Photo of Ted Williams and I
- THE book – a baseball book that has been autographed by Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, MY MAN Johnny, Don Drysdale, Sparky, Pete Rose, Dizzy Dean, Brooks Robinson, etc.
- Personalized copy of My Turn at Bat by Ted Williams
- Personalized copy of Johnny Bench’s autobiography with 25 years worth of Johnny Bench clippings inside it.
- Proclamation signed by George H. W. Bush honoring my grandfather Froehlich
- Family photos
- Sent my first novel, box of photos, my father’s military letters and photos with Josie
- Sent jewelry and sterling with my mother
- Sent photos for my next book with my mother
- Sent etching that belonged to my grandparents with my mother (who threatened to keep it)
- Sent 6 quilts made by my great-grandmothers with my mother
- Family photos not scanned or duplicated
- Photo of my grandfather Froehlich’s barn
- Photo signed by Ted Williams, Stan the Man, and the Mick
- Photo signed by Johnny and Pete
- Photo signed by Jerry Carr
- First autographed photo Sherrill Milnes gave me
- Small family memorabilia
I had the usual legal papers, camera, computer, etc. and realized antiques can be replaced. I would figure out a way to get the Reidhead rocking chair saved. I have a container in the hall to grab letters signed by Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Nixon, and my Ronald Reagan autograph. I think I could get all my astronaut photos in the container. Everything that is heavy is already either upstairs or in the Durango, even tonight. I can take my Doug Chaffee paintings as I leave. I don’t want to move those if it isn’t necessary. I have another container near a curio cabinet, with bubble wrap, where I can quickly pack my great-grandmother Moore’s teapot and aunt Mabel’s 1790 era tea set.
I realized books can be replaced. China and crystal can be replaced. Clothes can be replaced. I’d decided, if it became drastic, I would stuff my research files in the fridge! Funny how we begin to look at things.
Then there is the cat problem. I have the containers ready to catch them. The Carport Calico was so weird yesterday. She slept on top of the cat carriers, as though she was going to get a ride out of here!
I decided to run with an AP story out of the Miami Herald, which shows how wide the coverage is on the story.
This heartbreaking screen shot is just above my condos, which are on the lower right.
“...Five Ruidoso families are coming to terms with huge losses as their homes and belongings were reduced to ash and rubble on Sunday.
Jim Minter’s mother is among those left homeless by the White Fire. “I’ve never witnessed anything like this in my lifetime and I don’t care to do it again,” said Jim in shock on Monday.
Not far from Minter’s mother’s house, Kerry Gladden still can’t believe that her house and her mother’s house next door are intact due to a natural barrier of rocks on the properties.
The fire circled around Gladden’s house but flames licked their storage shed which had valuable sports memorabilia hanging inside. “We’re very, very lucky that our homes are still up here standing,” Gladden reiterated…”
Choppers and tankers are finally able to get a break with the weather and the wind.
A selection of the day’s photos:
For inquiring minds, Rumsfeld is enjoying his evacuation. He and Princess Sadie are having a great time. He’s staying with my parents for several more days. The cats are enjoying his absence.