If you have a fire in your house – even if the damage wasn’t all that great, but the smoke and ash permeated everything – the restoration companies swoop in. Every surface in the house is going to be cleaned and sealed, so everything has to be gotten out of the way – every single thing is packed out, cleaned and stored while the house gets fixed up.

And then, when all the work is finally done, boxes of stuff ... hundreds of boxes ... are returned and are piled high and you start opening the boxes and unwrapping things ... it’s like a nightmarish Christmas morning: You don’t know what you’re about to unwrap and that’s fun for a little while ... but it keeps going on and on and on.

The packers take no chance ... you never know, when you’re cleaning out a home, what simple item might have some private significance to the homeowner and there isn’t time to ask about things ... so everything comes back wrapped up. Every. Thing.

Such as the  2” by 3” piece of broken clay pot we unwrapped yesterday morning.

Ahhh... been looking for that!

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Our fire was nothing in comparison to most. We’re getting just about all our possessions delivered back to us after our home has been restored. And we’re cognizant of the thousands and thousands of people who will get nothing back and have no home left to restore.

Our little fire and its aftermath provides us with anecdotes and observations. The Cascade Fire, and last year’s Camp Fire, provide those folks with opening and closing chapters ... abrupt and ruthless changes to their lives that they’ll be dealing with forever.

This was received, concerning the Camp Fire, from the Cal Fire/Butte County Fire Department:

“November 8, 2018 is a day that forever changed the town of Paradise, Butte County and California. One year later, we remember the deadliest and most destructive fire in California’s history.

“Over 18 days last fall, the Camp Fire burned 153,336 acres across Butte County. It destroyed 18,804 structures, including nearly 14,000 homes and more than 500 commercial buildings, and took the lives of 85 citizens. Today we remember each of those who perished in the fire, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends, and loved ones.

“’I will never forget the incredible sacrifice and often heroic efforts by citizens, firefighters, law enforcement and first responders, many of whom worked tirelessly to save lives while their own homes burned. I can’t express how proud I am of the community I call home.’ said Butte Unit Chief David Hawks. ‘Seeing the recovery efforts in Paradise, Magalia, Concow, and each community affected by the fire gives me hope that Butte County will emerge stronger than ever.’”

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One of the great disappointments of 2018 was the cancellation of the annual Veterans Day Parade in Marysville.

Last year at this time, we were passing out face masks. We were staying indoors as much as possible. The streets were noticeably calm. The smoke in the area from surrounding wildland fires was bad enough to make you ill.

The parade could not have proceeded. It’s too big a thing and too long to have had people outside in that air that long.

It’s back this year for the 17th rendition.

For some reason – probably because of our great love of country and appreciation for the service of veterans – this parade has grown into the largest of the year in a community that relishes parades. Besides the vehicles, there are actual floats and marching groups. Our friends and neighbors who are veterans take part. We line the sidewalks in support.

It’s a wonderful parade to pay respect and to remember. It’s Monday starting at 11 a.m. in downtown Marysville.

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Thumbs Up: We’re so happy the California Swan Festival is back at it after a couple years off. It was a great way to promote our part of the world – both to outsiders and home folk. There’s real value to the community when locals take time to learn and appreciate what’s going on here.

If the festival snuck up on you and you can’t budget time for an actual field trip, stop by the Swan Central  at Feather River Academy at 1895 Lassen Blvd, in Yuba City. There are demonstrations and exhibits and presentations going on there, too.

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Ugh: Musical jokes.

– Why shouldn’t you let kids watch big band performances on TV? Too much sax and violins.

– A musician told me he was going to hit me with the neck of his guitar. I said, “Is that a fret?”

– A drum rolled down a hill! Ba-dum, tsssh!

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