|Looking at this picture now still gives me chills and it just doesn't seem possible. |
Later... we heard the rest of the story.
This tragic fire took place in New Brunswick, Canada. My Gram, who is blind and 90 years old, was home alone on Sunday afternoon. She was waiting for my mother's weekly phone call, sitting in her chair, with the phone in her hand, when she heard what sounded like something falling off the roof. She got up to go outside when the fire alarm began to go off. She left the kitchen, walked through the porch, past the fuse box, and through fire and flames reached the outside porch. My aunt, who lives just down the hill, had run up to try to get Gram out. She had been banging on the windows and could not get through the door. She heard a noise and turned to see my Gram standing on the porch steps, bewildered at what was going on. My aunt grabbed my Gram and helped her walk to safety, and minutes later the porch was in flames, as can be seen in the above picture. My Gram's animals, a cat and a dog did not make it out of the fire. The dog was found on the porch that my Gram walked through!
Gram did not have any smell of smoke or fire on her clothes and was completely unharmed. It has been a miracle that we have rejoiced over, even as we have grieved the loss of the 103-year old home. My Gram moved there when she was married, living there for 73 years! All of it, gone, in just a few minutes. Treasures, keepsakes, pictures, memories, a lifetime of living, gone in just a few moments of time. My Aunt Jenny lived with her as well and had all of her life's possessions in that home too. Gone in a short moment of time. One of my uncles had just finished putting in over 10 cords of wood in the basement for the winter. Gone... in just a few moments of time. Treasures and keepsakes brought over from Denmark by my great-grandparents when they emigrated to Canada, gone... in just a few moments of time.
But the miraculous thing is that my Gram was able to get out. Even the dog, who was on the porch, did not make it out. But Gram did. Gram has been telling everyone that the Lord got her out, and we believe that the Lord walked her through the fire on the porch, and kept her safe. Later, when you see the video, you will see what my aunt saw as she was running up the hill to try to get my Gram out. She couldn't get to her. But the Lord walked with Gram out of that fire, and we are so thankful to have Gram with us today! At 90 years old, she has become an evangelist, telling everyone what the Lord did for her!
|The old home sitting up on the hill, in all of Fall's glory. |
|A recent picture of my Mom and Dad with my Gram and Aunt Jenny. |
|Out of the flames, a page from the book. |
|This devotion was found in the fire... an incredible thing for all of us to see! |
|More relics found from the fire... |
|This picture of our family was also found! |
|Another picture found, fire-damaged, but of my Mom, my Gram and myself. |
The Old House on the Hill
A wooden beacon of love
Standing tall on the winding steep hill
Its stance intact for over one hundred years
With doors always open and its heart always full.
This was a home of the extraordinary
As God-fearing and hardworking Fred and Eva
Knit this home together in kindness and love
With generous doses of love and fun
That flowed from its inward being.
The oversized kitchen table with room for just one more
Fed many a hungry belly until they could eat no more
And not just with food for the body
But laughter, love, and great joy
Rich nourishment for the soul.
Oh if those walls could only talk once again
And share the memories within
Whispers of late-night conversations
Music played from the living room piano
Steps that ran up and down the stairs
Pitter-patter of furry animals that lived there
Yes, there were the pranks that were played
Jokes that were told, meals that were cooked
All while sharing great fellowship and love.
Little toddlers happily played, darting around
With treats on the sly when parents weren’t looking
Mounds of food graced that table
With the kitchen always open, night or day.
And even if one couldn’t eat another bite
Somehow they were pressed to make room for more.
Cries of praise and prayer daily lifted their wings
To the lofty heights of heaven’s throne room
From the generous rooms of this home.
While the creaky floors held their own secrets
And walls burst with their knowledge
Joy ran its river out the banks of its doors.
Outside great blooms and flowers swung on the porch
With many birds and bees enjoying their bliss,
Apple trees in fall shared their harvest
While wild strawberries in spring were a sweet treat.
Large pastures brought in loads of hay
And baseball games played with cow patty bases
Kept energetic grandkids entertained.
Always a bit of excitement when a car sped up the drive
Gram would peer out the large picture window
In the anticipation of a visitor from afar, a friend or a child
Coming to visit and brighten up her day.
She knew the cars by their sound in later years
When her eye’s light grew dim with darkness and shadows.
The large chair by the window became her resting place
And she managed the world of her home
With careful scrutiny from that chair.
Nothing missed her gaze and she could spot
A hungry stomach a mile away and insist it get fed.
Oh the games that were played at that kitchen table
Skip-Bo and Rummikub the family favorites
Helping hands came often to prepare meals
in later years and to provide company for Gram
As darkness and quiet pervaded her world.
The company of their help a great blessing.
The old homestead sat ready for winter
With its large appetite for wood satisfied
Down in the dark basement below.
Fall had settled in for a visit while
Winter was just a cold breath away.
But suddenly on that beautiful Fall day
the home’s sturdy beams now lay under piles of ash,
as the old house crumbled beneath
the heat of the flames,
its doors never to open again
or its walls to hear the sound of voices
mingled in laughter, praise, and delight.
But even though the old home’s remains
lie dark in ashes deep
its voice will ne’er grow silent
and its memories will forever speak
For its grandest work was done in the hearts
Of each one whose footsteps it did greet.
The memories made over one hundred years
Live on in sweet places deep within our hearts.
Its grandest days on earth may have ended
But its greatest work will last forever
In the hearts of those who loved and lived here.
Indeed, the greatest lesson
this old house aches to share
with all who mourn its loss
is one that we too, all must learn.
The lesson is simple yet diligent in its task
It speaks to us today a message,
Listen close and hear its groan
as this old house whispers its last bequest:
“Nothing on earth will remain the same
But your soul and its eternity
Will be that which forever will last.”
Marilyn Moseley, Granddaughter of Fred & Eva Skaarup
I went through some albums I have here with me, and found some old pictures I'd like to share with you of my grandparents and their home.
|A picture of my Gram & Grampie on their 25th wedding anniversary. |
|Danielle, with Grampie, and my Mom. |
|Danielle's first visit to Canada, she was 18 months old, |
standing on the landing of the creaky old steps.
|The porch was filled with beautiful flowers! |
|Here is a picture with my dear uncle who passed in a tragic accident 8 years ago, and my Grampie who has been gone for almost 20 years... my Gram busy working in the background... and you can see that table piled with food. Good times!|
|From a little child, Danielle loved the piano, here she is trying to play, |
while my Mom plays the piano in the living room. Many happy hours were spent with piano music, as my mother, many of my aunts and cousins play the piano.
|Ryan with Gram, saying goodbye in 2018.|
|My precious Gram... I miss her so much. |
We are so thankful that the Lord saved her from the fire,
and pray that we can all make it back to visit her someday
when all this covid stuff has settled down.