Just returned from my first trip back to the States in over two years. Enjoyed seeing family and friends, ate tons of Mexican food (which I dearly miss), and bought lots of clothes that simply aren’t available in the EU. Equally important, this journey reinforced my appreciation of life here in France.
After settling back in, we had the most delightful visitors from Germany who were traveling in their camper (a niece of Theo’s half-sister’s husband). Complicated connection, but the nicest couple, who’ve become fast and good friends.
Said au revoir to them yesterday, enjoyed another summer-like evening, made a delicious dinner, then Theo was off to his man cave and I went down to the lower part of our lot where the gardener had burned an enormous mountain of garden cuttings during the day. It was still glowing with an occasional flame, so I took a glass of wine and a chair and enjoyed several hours tending to the large logs that were left to burn. Those of you who know me, know that I love a fire—in the fireplace, in a bonfire, fireworks, etc.
Except after coming in after midnight, I checked my email and found that one of my best friend’s home in Santa Rosa had burned to the ground in the raging fires. It rattled me to the core. How ironic that here I was enjoying my little fire, while this dreadful news was awaiting me. I called her and we talked.
This has affected me beyond belief. Not only was it her retirement dream and a stunning home, I had worked with her to redecorate the house with more contemporary colors and finishes and furnished it to be a high-end executive rental until she retired. Thankfully, her renters had just moved out and the home was unoccupied. Most of the furniture and accessories that went into the house were from our precious Spanish revival home in San Jose. Of course, she had purchased all of the pieces from me, so they were no long ‘mine,’ but the feeling of loss was the same, as each piece was hand picked for our home.
At the end of the day, yes, they are just material things. But they held such memories for us, like Theo’s ‘Italian whorehouse bed,’ which he hand carried back from Milan in the 1980’s and had been a subject of many funny late-night stories, the semi-antique rugs that graced rooms where we had so many fond memories, my gigantic leather Neiman Marcus chairs, an antique chest from Germany, and my beloved collection of flying pigs. I don’t mean to make this about me—it’s simply a journal entry of how this experience has affected me.
My heart goes out to all the families who have lost so much, and the courageous fire fighters who continue the battle to contain the fires. And most of all, love and encouragement to my friend, who plans to rebuild.