On the morning of May 12th, Sandy and I were awakened at 5:30 to the sound of fire alarms in our hotel. So it was get dressed and down the stairs. I’m rethinking getting rooms on the upper floors even though they might get less traffic noise. Anyway, as we were standing out in the parking lot waiting for the firemen to give the all clear, it dawned on me to question just what we grabbed and what we left in the room. In my case I grabbed my phone, GPS, flash drive with all our trip photos and my car keys. Oh and unlike many of the guests I grabbed the key card for our room. Sandy figuring, we might be outside for a while grabbed her iPad and of course her purse. We left our suit case and medicine bag, along with my computer. So essentially, we only had the cloths on our back (well except for all those still in the car, which was plenty). Re-thinking things if it had been an actual fire, grabbing our medications might have been a good idea, but otherwise, everything we left in the room was easily replaceable.
This incident got me thinking about what in an emergency is important to us. I guess being able to contact people and memories (all the photos on our phones) rated highest. While the suit case, some clothing and “niceties” for the trip (computer, snacks, iPod player) weren’t all that important. A day or so later, the morning talk show we listen to (Pod Cast) got to talking about moving/possessions and one of the guys saying for much of his early career everything he owned could fit in his car. Sandy and I have recently come to the conclusion, (after 24 years) that we should stick to our plan upon my retirement from the Army that if our “stuff” didn’t fit in our house we’d get rid of it. So, while we aren’t going to down size our home, we are going to right size what is stuffed into it.
I find that “stuff” can get in the way of what is really important – friends and family. This might be colored by having visited friends on this trip who we hadn’t seen in 35 years, but reconnected like it was only days. I’m sure coming up on my 70th birthday has also got me thinking about the people in my life and the part they’ve played in my story. I’m also reminded how closely we are connected to each other, learning a couple of years ago that one of my childhood friends was a “not so distant” cousin to Bill Keye. My other thought as I was driving was how important it was to let folks know how important they have been to me while I can. The year or two before my dad passed away he would call me pretty much every day, usually around 6 p.m., knowing I’d be home at dinner. When he passed, there was nothing left unsaid, no regrets that I wish I’d had said or told him something. I think those calls were one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. I pray that each of us can do that for others.