Thursday, February 25, 2016

A special pair of sneakers

Did you ever find a pair of shoes or sneakers that you just loved...Well I did.  While shopping with my daughter, Rachael, I found just the pair for me.  I have been working out at the gym wearing my old navy sneakers...and I just did not feel cool enough!  Then I saw my dream shoes.  They were Bright yellow and pink.  They had a cool bottom... They fit me perfectly. It was the type of shoe you put on and just take a deep breath in and sigh. You know they were meant for you.  I had gotten these bright pink and orange Nike work out shirts for Christmas...I had my black workout pants with my pink and yellow stripe...It was perfect.  I felt so cool as I worked out at the gym in them...that was until the car fire...
Sent this to my kids the day I got them!! My new sneakers!

In the beginning of November we were driving home after an awesome visit with the kids. We had helped move them into their new apartment.  We were towing our new trailer.  All of a sudden Dave pulled the SUV over to the side of the road, and screams, "Get out of the car!  We are on fire!"  I don't know how, but within seconds I was out of my seat belt, opening the door to get out. Once we stopped the flames had engulfed the car and they were over the top of the car.  My door literally pushed back the flames so I could get out.  It was one of the scariest moments I have ever faced in my life.  Dave and I ran to behind the trailer and just held each other.  We had no clue what to do...and quite frankly I think we were in shock.  We both realized if we had even driven another quarter of a mile in that car we would not be standing where we were.  We would have been gone...with our car...that was now completely covered in flames.
   Just a few minutes went by before two different cars stopped to see if we were ok.  I was so shaken that when one of the wonderful ladies asked me if I had called 911.  I held up my phone and handed it to her.  That was the only thing that I had from the car...no shoes, no jacket, no purse...just Dave's phone that I was playing a game on when he pulled over.  She knew I was in no way able to explain what happened so she quickly dialed 911.  Her and the other lady that stopped surrounded Dave and I and  tried to comfort us.  We were amazed with how quickly the fire trucks came.  Four different trucks tried to put out the fire, one would take over as the other one ran out of water and foam to spray on the car.  The flames reached high in the sky and I watched as all that we had with us went up in flames.  
    We were only about 30 minutes from where Becca and Brandon had just moved.  When Dave called them, they immediately grabbed me shoes and a coat and drove over. I fell into my kids arms. Becca had to help me put on socks and shoes that she brought for me to wear.  The tables were turned.  It was my child putting my shoes on and tying them for me.  They were taking care of me.     I was struggling from the smoke I inhaled and think I was still in shock.  I just kept thinking about how my purse had Dave's wallet in it, and all of our money and credit cards in it. I kept thinking of my new purse that Dave had just gotten me for my birthday.   I kept thinking about all of the fun things I had just gotten when Brandon and I went to the two story Walmart the day before.  I kept thinking about my special Reebok sneakers that I loved that were inside my suitcase in the back of the SUV.
   The fire was starting to die down after about two hours of burning.  We stood out in the cold watching it burn.  As the firemen came back I asked them,  "Could you look in the back seat for my purse...I really need it."  They looked at me and said, "Honey, there is nothing left!".  I kept asking each fireman as they came back to look for my purse and each time they shook their head, and told me that it was hopeless.  I knew I had to look before I could give up on it.  God would not have impressed on me to get my purse that strongly if it was not OK. The kids suggested we follow the SUV to the garage and take a look at what was left inside.  
   As we followed the SUV to the garage I was shaking.  I just kept thinking, "What are we going to do?  How can we get home with no money and no credit cards? What would we do now?  As we pulled up to the SUV it looked hopeless.  There literally was nothing left of the car.  My phone had melted into the center console.  there were no seats, no shoes, nothing left.  But still my mind kept saying, "Find your purse."  Becca had brought a towel with her and we used that to dig thru the rubble in the back seat.  They found a black lump that had to be my purse.  I got excited as we found it and urged the kids to keep looking.  They pulled apart the lump of melted leather and there inside was Dave's wallet. It was charred on the outside, the top of the money inside the wallet was burned, his credit cards were bent from the heat...but we were able to get everything, including his licence and social security card  out of his wallet.  I smiled for the first time since we pulled over. I urged them to keep looking.  They smiled as they pulled out my wallet...with everything in it....slightly singed, but usable.  It was a miracle that any of these things were saved.  Everything around it was totally burned up.  I knew God had saved it for me.  I began to feel hope for the first time since this started.  
   We opened up the back hatch of the car.  Everything was totally burned. I opened up the suitcase and even the clothes inside were still smoking and trying to catch on fire.  That is when I saw my sneakers.  There they were in the middle of all of this mess,  shining their bright color in the back of the car.  They were the only think that was not black in the car.  I grabbed them...wanting to bring them with me and Dave shook his head no.  They had such a strong odor of smoke there was no way I could bring them in the car with me. My lungs were already compromised.  I could not have them with us.   I cried as we left the car.  The sneakers, although burned in the back still looked like new.  I hated to leave them....
See how my sneakers were the only things that were not totally burned!
     Last week I received a letter from our insurance company.  Which I have to tell you is Allstate. If you are looking for a great company, I highly recommend them.  They have been amazing with all of this.  We had just switched over to them the week before the fire.  We had only made one payment to them. They have bought us a new SUV, covered all of the contents in the car, and also helped us deal with the trauma of this event.  They have constantly called to see how we are doing and what they can do for us.  I have never had anyone treat us as nicely as they have. Their staff is amazing. The letter stated that I forgot to send the title to my car in.  They have been storing our car since Nov. 9th and need to get it to auction.  As soon as I read this my mind began to think back to my pair of sneakers. You see, I had searched everywhere for a pair like those with no luck.  Dave had gotten me a new pair of cute ones with flowers on them for Christmas, but they just weren't the same.  I called the number on the letter and asked if they had received the title I had sent out a few days before and if the car was still there.  She took a few minutes to look it up and came back to the phone to tell me it was scheduled to be picked up the next morning...but it was still there.  I was afraid to ask, but I took a deep breath and said, "Can I ask you to do me a favor?" When she asked me what she could do for me I quickly explained about my sneakers.  I told her they were in the back of the SUV.  I asked her if their was any way she could mail them to me.  I knew by now the smell of the smoke would have gone away.  As soon as I told her my idea she said, "Have you seen that car?!"  I assured her I not only saw it, but was in that car while it was on fire.  She told me she did not think anything was salvageable but she would go look.  She never called me back so I just assumed that she did not find them, or they were worse then I remembered.  
   The next day Dave yells up to me.."Kathleen, there is a package for you!"  He had a huge smile on his face!  I looked at him strangely and looked into the box he held in his hand.  There inside the box, only 16 hours after I had spoke to the insurance lady, were my sneakers.  I could not believe it! They were dirty, covered in soot, burned on the heals, but they were in my hands!  Tears ran down my face as I realized how God had saved not only Dave and I, not only all of our important stuff in our wallets, not only our money...but my pair of sneakers!
This is actually after I washed them once, I wish I took a picture of when they came out of the box...they were really dirty!
I worked on those sneakers all evening. I washed them gently, sprayed them to get rid of the smoke, and cut off the burned material off the back. I placed them by the fire to dry.  The next day I could not wait to try them.  I put them all back together and put them on my feat!  I danced around the room!  I sent pictures to my kids asking them if they remember these sneakers.  They were shocked when I told them the story of the sneakers.  
My poor burned sneakers!

   As I put them on I took a deep breath, then a big sigh, and a smiled big.  They were a gift.  A way to show that I am loved and cared about so deeply.  That lady at the insurance did not have to handle those dirty, stinky old sneakers.  She did because she knew they meant something to me.  I am forever grateful that she did.  They are a little stained there the fire got them and they are missing the back material...but boy do they feel good.  Tonight as I went to the gym I had a huge smile on my face.  I danced around the gym.  I had my cool sneakers on again.  They are even more precious to me now.  They, like Dave and I survived a traumatic event.  We will once again rise up and pick up the pieces of our life...only this time, I will be wearing my special sneaker to cheer me on.
My sneakers now!