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A roaring fire consumed our isolated house on Dec. 21, 1972, and caused my most memorable—if not exactly my favorite—Christmas.
Awakened in the night by the barking of our dog, my husband Bob and I grabbed our two children and rushed out into the country darkness to stand, shivering in the sub-freezing night, but elated that we were all safe.
A passing truck driver stopped to say he’d call the fire department in Fossil, three miles down the highway. Bob terrified me by going back into the blazing house several times to retrieve things while I waited with the children and the dog in the car.
We waited in vain for the fire truck to arrive, finally driving into town ourselves, only to discover that the fire department was prohibited from responding to an alarm outside the city limits. Everything we owned was going to be left to burn and we had no insurance. It was a bleak moment.
However, almost immediately, help poured in from all quarters. Though the firemen couldn’t take their truck, they went back with Bob and hand-carried as many of our possessions out as possible. Some friends gave us a place to sleep, others sent bottles and diapers for the baby and someone took in our dog.
In the days to follow we were inundated with offers of places to stay, clothes, household goods, money, and even replacement Christmas presents. Many items were donated anonymously.
Our family was safe and the community generosity was astounding. Yes, we lost most of our material possessions during that Christmas week, but we gained much, much more.