Friday, May 6, 2016

Fort McMurray 80 000 Stories and Counting

It's been a week like no other. Sunday afternoon my daughter packed for work. She drove to Calmar, so she could leave her car at her brother's house when she flew up to Fort McMurray on Monday. I am not a fan of airplanes but she enjoys the trip, and the fact the company she works for sponsors it makes it even sweeter. I read about the fire burning nearby, and worried about what the combination of her cold, asthma, and smoke haze would be.
She texted when she landed just afternoon and sent me a picture of the smoke as seen from the airport. " See Momma? It's just little. Don't worry about me."

And so the adventure began. I texted her at a quarter to two on Tuesday afternoon to tell her the fire had jumped river. Not to panic you I told her, but stacking nail polish in a big store one might not be aware of what was going on outside. She hadn't heard but within minutes she phoned to say they were doing a pickup from school and heading back to Timberlea where she was staying. The family packed up and waited. And waited. She hates waiting. They decided to wait for direction and cooperate with evacuation direction.  So it was that when they reopened highway 63 they were in place to leave south. They left the house, a convoy of three vehicles, at 7:30.  At 9:30 they finally cleared city limits on the south. 
I began to plan where I could put everyone to sleep when they arrived. Maybe one a.m. I thought.
But the night dragged on. At one they were still somewhere on 63. By this time Rachel was driving. Every hour or so I would phone and her tired horse little voice would say "Hello, Momma, we are still driving. Slowly. We are ok. Go to bed!" They decided to stop at friends near Lac La Biche, and finally at 3:30 they rolled in to their destination.
And finally today she is supposed to get home. 
I need to hug her. And see her pictures. I told her not to send any because I need to see her first.
And this morning when I looked out and saw the sunrise reflecting off the elevators I had a moment of fire panic. And I didn't drive out of a city with smoke and flames billowing behind me. 

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