Though I'd already written this month's random ramblings, the events of this past weekend midway through November were so compelling to me that I just had to start afresh and get a couple of important things off my chest. I guess it's sort of like when I happen to remember something at home we need from the grocery store-if I don't write it down or, better yet, go get it immediately, it will likely fall to the wayside of my memory's convoluted storage facility. In other words, act now or forever forget whatever it is I need to remember ... or in this case, scribble down as a literary work of art I like to call my editorial!
Unfortunately, this particular weekend started off on a pretty bad note. Even though it didn't directly affect me, the horrific wildfires that swept through and ultimately devastated Los Angeles County really got me into a pretty serious case of what I call "grateful remorse." Seeing other's lifelong possessions literally go up in smoke with little to no warning really made me appreciate all that I have even more, and that it could be taken away just like that. I found myself sitting in front of the television, watching in awe as one home after another turned to rubble, just praying that it was not caused by another human being (and if it was, those words I just used are too good to describe someone who could do that). There's just something about a natural disaster that makes you truly grateful for what you have, but at the same time, it's impossible not to feel an enormous amount of remorse for those who lost what they once had. Hopefully, their life wasn't one of those sacrifices.
As the fires raged up north, I had the opportunity to take my son to his very first drag races. While he was more than eager to see John Forest (that's how he pronounces it!), I wasn't sure how he'd react to hearing and feeling Nitro Funny Cars and Top Fuel Dragsters in person, so I opted to take him on qualifying day ... just in case. Well, as it turned out, he couldn't have loved it more, which was beyond my expectations. So much so, in fact, that he actually loved being in the pits when they fired the zillion-horse engines between rounds-the Nitro fumes may have reddened and watered his eyes a bit, but not enough to reverse the huge grin on his face! It was indeed a day that made daddy proud, that's for sure.
But, it was while we were spending our inaugural day at the races that I learned of another huge fire that had started-but this one was much, much closer to home ... about 15 miles close. From one perspective, it was somewhat relieving to hear that the winds were blowing it northwest, away from my house. From another, it was very alarming when I was informed that my cousin's house was right in the path of devastation, just barely escaping with minor burn damage-unlike many others that would soon burn to the ground. It goes without saying that my day of being a proud papa ended more bittersweet than I'd have liked it to.
No matter what, I still had that little man to be proud of, not to mention a roof over our heads. It may be hard to appreciate the "luxury" of taking my son to the drags when others are in forced dire straits. But just as you can't replace family heirlooms, you can't replace opportunities that slip by. Though my heart goes out to the victims of all recent disasters, my heart also goes out to my son, and I'm glad we didn't miss this particular opportunity.