Just to let you know, there's a couple of us Mooney folks here in Santa Rosa. We have all had a horrific week in Sonoma County. The unthinkable happened in the early hours of Monday evening as a firestorm sped from Calistoga over the mountain into the heart of northern Santa Rosa. My wife and I were awakened by a neighbor for an immediate evacuation with a firestorm raging on the hill just above our neighborhood. The smoke, flames, explosions, severe wind and the roar were unbelievable and what I would describe as evil. My wife was injured trying to wake an elderly neighbor and required an ER visit but our hospital seemed to be on fire as did all of Santa Rosa. We left with the clothes on our back and our cat. We were certain we would lose our house. As we became refugees our day was filled with anxiety as we grasped the reality of losing "our stuff." Remembering that I had webcams it was late morning when I saw that, unbelievably, our home had been somehow spared. We actually felt guilty about that as so many of our friends narrowly escaped with just their lives in Fountain Grove, Coffey Park, and Larkfield/Wikiup where we live. One of our Mooney brothers, M20D6607U, lost his home as did many members of his family. So many families had multiple members in these neighborhoods. You would think when something like this happens you could stay with relatives but when every family member loses their home it creates a real dilemma. I am helping to run an evacuation and disaster relief distribution center and I connected with Ron personally today, getting him and his family some relief supplies, loading him up with everything I could from sleeping bags to Gatorade to toothbrushes and socks. He also knows and is helping several other families who lost their homes and we are supplying them as well. I know he's going to be upset with me for telling you all this but I thought it would be great if you left him some words of encouragement. I'm not sure when he'll see this but at some point I'll tell him what I did unless he busts me sooner. He's a great guy with a heart of gold.
All of our Mooneys are safe. The airport was about 2 miles from the fire and has been a base for Cal Fire, National Guard, and several GA relief efforts as have the smaller airports near us like Healdsburg, Cloverdale, and Petaluma. There is a sizable TFR overhead of which a small chunk was left open for KSTS in case you're flying in here.
When faced with the possibility of losing your home and everything in it, you often wonder what you would take with you. When the evacuation is immediate and dangerous there is no time or decision making. You leave it all. We snuck in past the barricades the second day as the fires were still raging next to us, expecting our home to be destroyed. My wife and I looked around and wondered what we'd pack into our van. All we took were our important papers, old video tape of our daughters, and a couple extra changes of clothing. We left everything else. The night before, when we were convinced we lost everything, we let it all go. It was just stuff at that point. We had each other, our friends, and we were safe. What we used to think was so important now made us feel embarrassed. The new sofa we took so long to find, the perfect giant HDTV, the piano, and on and on and on. It was just stuff. It wasn't important anymore and it seemed a hinderance. On this second trip in all we brought out was a laundry basket with very few things. The van was empty as we headed back to the shelter and we walked away from our home with no regrets.
Lean-of-peak vs. rich-of-peak didn't matter anymore (hahaha). Neither did politics, sports, or any other argument or opinion. It all seems so petty now. I drive through the burn area on my way to work every day. There's no way around it. The familiar landmarks that defined my neighborhood are gone, obliterated. I'm hoping that visible scar on our community will be a constant reminder to not get caught up in the "stuff" trap again. Family and friendships are what's important. Giving to others and serving your community, being generous and grateful and all that good stuff, that's what's important.