I had two reminders this morning about how quickly life can change and why we never should take anything for granted.
I’m babysitting the emergency scanner for the weekend.My responsibilities are to pay attention to anything our Hub cops and crime reporter might need to follow up on for Monday’s Kearney Hub and to go to anything that really is a big deal, such as a fire, big traffic accident or storm damage.
At 4:33 a.m. today, there was a call to a house fire out in the country about 3½ miles northwest of my house. Before I got there, the scanner chatter told me everyone had escaped safely. I don’t know who the family was yet or how many people were in the house, but a small bicycle laying on its side in the front yard tells me that a least one child lives there.
The fire was under control in about an hour. The house didn’t burn to the ground, but given the roof damage, the amount of smoke and the volume of water sprayed inside, I can’t imagine that it will be repaired.
Meanwhile, everything except for the night clothes the family wore probably is ruined. That’s probably especially true for such irreplaceable things such as family photos and keepsakes.
Talk about a huge life change that never could have been imagined when the family went to bed last night.
Later this morning, the pastor of our tiny, trying-to-rebuild Disciples of Christ congregation said his car spun out of control south of Kearney as he commuted from Minden, where he is full-time minister of a Disciples church.
A cold front moved through south-central Nebraska while I was at the fire. The temperature dropped around 20 degrees in about 20 minutes. Winds already were gusting to 45 mph or higher. We had rain when we went into church, which is a blessing ahead of planting season in this dry part of the country, but it was sleet when we left.
Since about 12:30 p.m., we’ve had a full on blizzard. The scanner tells me that our Buffalo County deputies and Nebraska State Patrol troopers are overwhelmed with vehicles off or blocking roads and (so far) minor accidents.
The pastor said that when his northbound car stopped after spinning on the wet highway this morning, it was straddling both lanes of traffic. Thankfully, the closest southbound car and all the vehicles behind it were able to stop before running into the pastor’s car.
That was a blessing.
It also is a reminder to enjoy every part of our lives – our family, friends, work and recreation – because it all could change or be lost in an instant, on a wet highway or by a spark.