Category Archives: Left To Pick Up The Pieces

A dark day in Smalltown USA.

This is the post I’ve been avoiding writing. I didn’t want to dwell, but feel the need to record what was a shocking and sad day in my hometown.

Our historic, picturesque little downtown blew up.

The blast took with it a beloved local bar, a restaurant, an art gallery, and a children’s store. In an instant that fateful morning, four buildings that had stood over 100 years … vanished. Windows as far as five blocks away were blown out. And adjacent buildings lucky enough to still be standing were quickly ravaged by fire.

MP and I were in the car, driving to town minutes after it happened. She pointed out the massive black plume visible 10 miles in the distance. My first thought was that a plane had gone down. We heard otherwise as we walked through the door to her preschool.

Once at work, information began pouring in. I learned the art gallery was affected and immediately thought of Tara, an employee. I knew her because my dad was a long-time exhibiting artist. I knew her because she was the little sister of a boy I went to high school with.

I called Bobo, told him the news, and expressed my concern about Tara. “Naah,” Bobo said. “They were never in before 10. She’s fine.”

Only she wasn’t. Tara had gotten to work early that morning, and was talking to her friend on the phone when the line went dead. People have speculated that’s when she flipped a light switch that ignited a natural gas leak, although no one really knows. It took three days to recover her body.

Amazingly, Tara was the only one to die. Had the explosion happened 12 hours later, it would’ve taken with it a bar and restaurant full of patrons. It’s hard to think about. The ‘what-ifs’ are too heavy.

Just three days prior, The Boy and I were in the bar that’s no longer there. Having a beer and a shot on a Monday afternoon.


This could very well be the last photo that was taken inside those walls. Damn, life is short.


Filed under Left To Pick Up The Pieces

I Don’t Wanna Get Married

MP has had marriage on her mind the past few weeks.

No, she’s not asking for a daddy. She’s concerned about her own impending marriage (yes, she’s not yet four), and has tearfully expressed numerous times that she does not want to get married. EVER.

I tell her there’s no need to be upset. That she doesn’t have to ever get married if she doesn’t want to. But I also tell her that marriage can be a wonderful thing, and that maybe someday she’ll meet someone she loves so much that she’ll want to marry and be with them always.

“No,” she says. “I WON’T!”

She then goes on to tell me she wants to be with me always, which eases my mind a bit. Perhaps this is just a typical worry at this age, and has nothing to do with being raised in a single-parent home. I try to remind myself she is deep in the throes of the whole “I don’t like boys” thing, after all (apparently they’re mean).

However, because it’s my responsibility to make sure she grows up to be a healthy, well-adjusted individual, I can’t help but be a little concerned, and wonder if this is one of the so-called adverse effects of the non-nuclear household.

Then again, perhaps second-guessing oneself just comes with the territory called Motherhood.

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Filed under Left To Pick Up The Pieces