“I’m not kidding you!” the voice on the other end of the phone said to me as she watched one of Tooele County’s iconic barns throw flames into the cold winter sky.
A picture of this beautiful structure dating back to the early twentieth century flashed across my mind. Then my thoughts rushed to Edward and Lauren Ruddell, my friends who own the property.
“Lauren is fine. She’s rightfully upset, but she’s OK,” Edward Ruddell said. “And all of the animals are OK, including the barn cat.”
By the time I arrived at their barn, it was a smoldering pile of ash. Yet, it was surrounded by people, so surrounded, that it was hard for me to find a place to park.
When I got out of my car, I was greeted by other neighbors and arrived just in time to see Lauren Ruddell lead her small herd of goats back across the highway toward her home. The neighbor across the street had given them shelter as the fire raged. It was the first act of goodness I witnessed first-hand.
Another neighbor, a purveyor of hay, saw the Ruddell’s supply of winter feed evaporate before his eyes. And, it was minutes before he arrived with free hay to get the animals through one cold dark winter’s month.
It was in winter’s chill that I saw others, weeping, searching and comforting. The scene was so warm that it melted the day’s chill!
Speaking of such generosity, Ed Ruddell said, “My God, Lynn. I’m tearing up!”
This tragedy made many in our community tear up. Our hearts are all hurting, but not wavering, because this story is larger than heartbreak, sorrow and despair. It speaks to the very definition of community.
We hear a lot about community these days, especially on-line communities. But the love and support offered to Lauren and Ed was not virtual. It shows that we don’t really live in a virtual community. We live in real communities with real people offering real love!
“I’m not kidding you!” the voice said on the other end of the phone as she watched one of Tooele County’s iconic barns throw flames into the cold winter sky.
“I’m not kidding you!” I thought to myself as I watched real acts of kind goodness. We live in something greater than cybernetic, something much more important and real, more than a virtual community!
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.