“It's a long, long road…”
Dateline: May, 5:15 a.m.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
“We heard a crackling.”
It was early morning Barb and Richard were upstairs in their farmhouse bedroom, it was that sleepy time between dreams and reality.
“We heard popping sounds.”
It had rained hard the last couple of days, a 30 mph wind was howling outside.
“Rich told me that someone downstairs was putting wood in the fireplace, it was a cool night…”
The early morning comforting sound of wood crackling and popping, peace on the rolling farmland of central New York.
“But then as he got out of bed I saw him look around, then look at me, and then he took off out of the bedroom and headed downstairs…”
Where the fireplace sat dark.
“Our whole house was lit up orange inside and when I got up and looked out the window I saw that our entire shop was engulfed in flames.”
The “shop” was actually a 130 foot long structure that Richard and his father built 40 feet from the family home over 70 years ago with trees they felled on their land.
“Everything was in there db, all our tools, our new RV camper, our bass boat and all, all of our fishing stuff, rods, reels, tackle, line, everything.”
“db I had in there 200 years worth of my family’s history…”
The phone went quiet, I could hear breathing, I could hear words start softly and just hang, start again, hang again.
“You know db my grandmother, she kept a diary, every year she wrote in little red books, I had all of them, 60 years worth of her diaries…”
And all of those were ablaze in the shop as well.
“…from which there is no return…"
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”