UP TO THE TEETH IN FIRE

“Even his dentures got melted down.”

I heard this on the shuttle bus, the Wednesday before Easter, as we were traveling from Sam’s Town to the MGM Grand to see the Cirque du Soleil production of Ka´.  By “we” I mean my lovely wife, Pony, my charming mother-in-law, Margaret; my friend Kevin, with his wife Kathy; and my friend Gary with his wife, Rita.  Months ago, we had organized to all meet in Las Vegas for a bit of actual vacation; doing the touristy thing with checking out the strip and a couple of shows.  Pony had found Sam’s Town: a combination hotel and RV park, with the requisite casino, several restaurants and shops, and many of the amenities one looks for in while vacationing in Vegas. 

But the topic on everyone’s minds and lips this evening was the RV that burned down that morning in the Sam’s Town RV park.  It is one of the chief fears of all RV owners (as I have come to learn).  RV’s are vulnerable to fire, and can burn down within minutes.  Indeed, Pony and I saw one catch fire on I-80 while going through Nebraska a few years back.  The thing was nothing but a smoldering hunk of metal within about 15 minutes. 

In this case, the RV belonged to an elderly couple, and apparently the wife was disabled.  Someone (I did not learn who) ran in to carry her out while the husband was also escorted from the growing flames.  There was some concern that their cat may have perished, but the kitty was found a few hours later.  The burned-out wreck of the RV remains in its assigned lot in Sam’s Town RV, yellow tape cordoning it off from the other residents.  Only the front grill and two front tires remain to give any impression of what once sat there. 

A box was set out in front of one of the RV’s closest to the main entrance of the park, accepting donations for the couple.  They were expected to spend a few days in a nearby hospital, after which they would be provided lodging for about a week, courtesy of Sam’s Town.  People were donating clothes, some tins of cat food, and whatever other sundry articles that someone could spare and thought the couple could use. 

Naturally, I thought of the sum of our lives that travels with us in our beloved Cecilia: the three cats, the dog, the two guitars, and all the other stuff.  It’s not everything we own in the world (some bigger articles of furniture, and a few other cherished objects have been put into storage, or are being held for us by various friends).  Still, I can imagine how terrible I would feel, how hard it would be to endure such a loss.  I hope I may never have to find out first-hand.                               

Like many of the other residents, we donated a few articles of clothing that we felt we could spare (plus a tin or two of cat food).  Like many of the residents, I think we did it to create some good karma; as an offering of sorts, to the gods of the road, to ward off bad fortune in our own travels.  

Here’s hoping it works.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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