Anyone who has followed my blog knows this story… but sometimes I just need to remind myself of all my blessings. So please bear with me as I remember.
This morning as I was getting ready for work, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, having recently been laid off, but still trying to finish out my “time” when it dawned on me what anniversary it was, and how thirteen years ago today, I was bustling around our little store, turning on the Christmas music and the fireplace. Making hot apple cider and setting out cookies.
My daughter and I had just pulled up in front of our little gift store, Rose In The Woods, to “open” as we waited for our employee Caroline to relieve us long enough to go Christmas shopping.
All month long I’d hear our customers say… “This is my last gift I have to buy!” and I’d panic, because I hadn’t bought anything yet, besides the gold watch I’d ordered for my husband and just picked up from Pan Jewelers, a local merchant in our building , a few days earlier.
As we pulled up, my daughter Brooke asked to wait in the car but I coaxed her into helping me open, promising that with her help, we’d get out of there sooner to go shop! Just as the Fed Ex guy showed up with a back order of quilts, Caroline, our employee walked in the door as Brooke implored,”No mom pleeease don’t open that box!” knowing that normally, I took the time to open each quilt and hang them on a fat dowel to display. I decided to compromise saying that she could just price them in their zippered plastic packages and was about to find a basket to put them in when the phone rang and my husband was calling from across the street where he’d recently moved his printing business in order for us both to have more room. Asking if Brooke could run over and pick up a mug for a customer who was scheduled to pick it up that morning.
We both rolled our eyes as if to say “we are never going to get out of here” as Brooke ran across the street. And another customer walked in. I’d just found a basket for the quilts when we heard a loud bang and all of a sudden our painted wooden floor began to buckle and roll as the room began to shake for what seemed like several minutes. I can’t say why, but I directed everybody to get in the back of the store and as they did, the roof caved in, right where my baby would have been placing that basket filled with quilts.
Not knowing, that when our roof caved in, it had also slid off of the building onto the cars below, including our car that Brooke had asked to wait in! I ran outside to find my baby still holding the mug, crying in her Dad’s arms as they surveyed the crunched building that used to hold Rose In The Woods. Not yet knowing about the two women killed right next door, I ran to them. As we stood huddled in the middle of Park Street that day, we watched as heroes began pulling the bricks from things. I suddenly noticed as they started removing bricks from my car. So I ran over, and choking back a sob I tapped on the shoulder of one of the firefighters and said…”It’s okay sir, there’s no one in that car.”