It’s only stuff

Published 4:40 am Wednesday, January 24, 2018

After an eventful and exciting 18-wheeler trip during the holidays, I felt happy to be home. My baby boy’s flight to New Orleans from San Francisco had been delayed due to unseasonably cold and icy conditions, but the New Orleans airport had come back to life. Ryan’s flight was on schedule, and our late Christmas celebration to come filled my heart with warm thoughts.

“Let me see. I’d better double check just to make sure I haven’t forgotten any ingredients for our dinner.

On second thought, I think I’ll sit right here in my PJs and check out one of the DVDs I’m giving the kids for Christmas. I’m so glad Robby suggested that I have our old home movies converted.”

Within minutes, Christmas past pulled me in, and I was transported to my younger self. My eyes welled with unshed tears of joy at the wonder in my baby’s face. The older two children feigned boredom, but I knew that secretly they still felt the magic.

Suddenly, a strange noise abruptly transported me to the present.

“What in the world? I know I don’t have any water running, but something sounds like a tub overflowing!”

Quickly, I checked the kitchen and bathrooms downstairs. No sign of water. The sound grew louder, and I fairly flew up the stairs to check the bathroom. Nothing, but the flowing sound grew to a roar. Adrenaline rushed through my body as I bounded down the stairs. I looked out the front window at the fountain, and saw nothing.

The sound of water hitting the tile in the laundry room called me down the hall. I stood for a moment with my hand over my mouth in disbelief. Water poured from the ceiling all around the light fixture. Every second, it seemed to gain momentum and rain down harder.

It rushed through the main electric panel, as I stood frozen in water covering my shoes. The danger of the situation triggered my feet to move, and I ran outside to turn off the water. Actually, I had no tool to turn it off, but thankfully my neighbor was able to take care of it for me.

I made the necessary calls, and soon the cavalry came. The deep freeze had caused two pipes to burst in the attic. The water came running at full force, thus causing a tremendous amount of damage.

My boys and daughter-in-law have been so helpful, as well as my insurance representatives. I could not ask for a kinder, more thoughtful crew than the ones working to restore my home. Many friends have offered to do anything at all to help, which also lightens the load.

As of this moment all the wood floors in the house have been removed and most of the baseboards. It will take another few days just to dry everything out. My furniture has been covered with plastic, and much of it is loaded onto trailers in the yard.

It’s all just stuff. What really matters in difficult times is what matters everyday — faith in God and the love of family and friends. I am truly blessed.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at