After much reading and deliberating, and more reading and some pondering, we have picked a winner for our Dinner with the Wild Things story contest.
It was a tough decision–there were a lot of fantastic, funny, quirky stories.
But our winner, getting Dinner (for two) with the Wild Things on December 1st is:
Louise Salitra, for this bittersweet tear-jerker:
“Smoke and Fire; who knew that these two would save my family… Year 2000, July I’m driving down the same street i have driven done so many times before. On my way home after work – 17 years old, the road is blocked off and the street is filled with fire trucks, ambulance and spectators in pajamas. I see my home being swallowed by a blazing beast of flame and smoke. My eyes desperately look for my family members, sister-found, father (in a dripping towel) found – mother – screaming but found… family dog, Rocky… no found. I embrace my family and begin to weep for my sweet cocker spaniel…how could this happen – why?? When through the smoke, in slow motion – a silhouette of a strong fireman comes towards us and in his arms carries a scared and drenched dog to us. Blackened with smoke, shaking with fear. We huddled together as we watch our entire life burn away. We are homeless. No baby pictures – no items that remind us of good times. All gone.
When i look back on that day – i don’t feel upset or angry, but blessed and thankful. I have a family that i love – and who is safe. I was able to learn at a young age – what is truly important in life. Good food – good friends – and love.
This is how fire and smoke saved our family.”
We thought we should mention a couple of other stories that pleased us just to give them a little fame (in case you haven’t read through them all).
From Degan Walters:
“The most recent and powerfully memorable experience I had was while we were motorcycling through Spain this summer. I always tell people that motorcycles are the best way to travel because you are so connected to the land – the terrain, the climate, the smells – and travelling from Barcelona through Madrid and then Andalusia we passed through the countryside experiencing the things that we would eat at the next town; fields of garlic, olive orchards, etc. Some of these things weren’t pleasant (the pig farms in particular) but when we crested a hill in Valencia and saw a fire filling the sky with black smoke, we prepared to ride fast through it and hold our breaths against the acridness. When we got closer, though, it turned out to be a fire in an orange grove and it was the smell of smoky perfume, pot pourri, paellas cooking on open fires of orange wood…If it weren’t for the emergency vehicles we may have turned around and rode through it again.”
“The fire story that always come to mind first is my brother almost burning his eyebrows off – we were kids and for some reason we were out in the fields playing in the ditches and we gathered swamp gas in a jar and were lighting it on fire with a great pouff! but than one wasn’t lighting well, and more gas escaped than should and the big pouff happened in front of my brothers face and singed his eyebrows. We stopped after that one.”