Dodging the curveball

I was given an unexpected and totally jacked up lesson in gratitude. I know I should be grateful for all that I’ve been given. I have a great husband and a beautiful grandbaby, I have a fantastic job and I get to write out all the stories in my head. But the universe decided to throw me a curve ball, then used it to teach me a valuable lesson.

About a year ago, our well house burned down in the process of trying to thaw out a frozen pump. We live in the country and had a lot of dry wood lying around. It didn’t take much for it to catch a spark and go up in flames. In the end, we lost the well house and the electric pole next to it. It was around the end of January/first part of February. It was cold, we had no electricity or heat, and had to rely on the kindness of friends. It sucked, but we survived and it brought our family closer together.

Fast forward just under a year later and picture a warmer-than-usual January afternoon. It’s a sunny day of about 50°. It was a rather typical Monday at work until I got a call from the hubby. He and one of the kids decided to burn some old lumber lying around, trying to clean up the property. The wind picked up and before they knew it, half the property was on fire. I was so mad, I was in tears.

A thousand negative things swirled through my head. I wanted to scream and throw things. I wanted to get in someone’s face and — yeah, I’ll admit it — I wanted to kick someone’s ass. This menopausal old broad was ready to rumble. How could they start a fire knowing the wind was supposed to blow? I jumped on social media, seeing as the boy had posted something and I was even more pissed than before. There was the whole ugly scene splashed across my timeline for the entire world to see. Then I got tagged in a news story from a local radio station of my property being rescued by several volunteer fire departments in our area. I freaked!

I picked the grandbaby up from daycare after work and headed home. I passed several fire trucks coming from the opposite direction and figured they had finished rescuing my world, but I was still fuming. I really wasn’t in the mood to confront the hubby, but as I turned the corner just next to our house, I saw him and the boy driving out of the yard. I pulled up next to them and the hubby said he had to get the boy back to town. I couldn’t even form words. I just glared at him, rolled up my window, and continued on to the house. He drove on down the road.

The front of the house and yard didn’t look any different than it had that morning. I went inside and took a peek out my back window. That’s when I saw it. Burnt ground, charred vehicles and old metal, and emptiness. I lost my breath. It looked like one of those old war movies, trails of smoke circling in the air.

As I stood there, the wind began to really pick up. I checked the forecast and they were predicting wind gusts of up to 50 miles an hour. When you live in the country and there’s no other buildings to block the wind, that’s a lot of moving air. It sounded like a freight train was barreling across the top of my house.

I sat down on the couch and started thinking about everything that had happened. I needed to wrap my head around the day’s events without any outside interruptions. The hubby was gone and the grandbaby was in her room. I started to calm down and relax my brain.

I had started making dinner when the Mr. got back home. I still wasn’t ready to deal with him, so I just kept to my task at hand. He mumbled something then headed back outside. I didn’t know what he’d said or was doing, and I really didn’t care.

He came back in and shouted at me, “Hello love. Not gonna talk to me?”

I turned toward him, ready to give him a piece of my mind when I got a good look at his face. He was covered in soot and ash. His face was almost black and half of his eyebrows were missing. The hair on his arms was gone and all of his fingertips had been singed. He did everything he could to protect our home, putting himself in the proverbial “line of fire” in the process.

That’s when the universe whispered, “He’s okay”.

It dawned on me, right then and there, how lucky we were. The Mr. and the boy were fine. They both lost some facial hair and got a little singed, but they were fine. The only damage was to some things out back that were of no real value and the fire was out before the real windstorm hit. 

We never know when life’s going to throw us a curve ball. It’s all in how we deal with the situation that matters. Getting mad was easy. Realizing what was important was the objective. I’m grateful that my boys are okay. I’m grateful that I still have a home where I can cook my family a nice meal. I’m grateful for the men and women of the rural volunteer fire departments that came out and made our world safe again. And I’m grateful for the lesson the universe allowed me to learn.

Christine Graves has been writing both online and off for the past 25 years. She’s written in just about every genre possible and still trying new things. She’s a wife, mother, and grandmother who lives here life like an open book. Visit Christine at
Christine Graves has been writing both online and off for the past 25 years. She’s written in just about every genre possible and still trying new things. She’s a wife, mother, and grandmother who lives here life like an open book. Visit Christine at

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