Thursday evening I had a wonderful dinner with a dear friend who has been a wise guidepost for the past 20 years. The issue was my career but I will elaborate on that another time.
It was 7;30 and I was getting settled to watch the replay of the Phillies game when my phone rang. It was my older brother's number. Since we usually chat in the morning, I knew it wasn't good.
When I answered, all I heard on the other end was my oldest nephew had accidentally set the garage on fire, please hurry. She did say no one was hurt. UGH.
I threw on whatever clothes I could find and ran out to my RAV4. Half way in my 30 minute drive I realized I forgot my shoes. Details, minor details.
My brother's family lives in a small community. As I approached their neighborhood, I have never seen that many fire trucks in my life that weren't in a parade. Clearly every community in a 20 mile radius responded judging from the names emblazoned on the side of their trucks. Holy hell.
It was surreal.
The closest I could get to their place was three blocks away. As I jogged to their place, I ran into my youngest nephew and his little girl friend He has the same laid back disposition of my brother. Is anyone hurt? I asked. Nah, Mom is just freaking out, as usual.
(His mother is crazy, recently she was placed on meds. However, this was cause to be a little distressed.)
By time I reach their house, the WOODEN SHED and all of the combustible crap was a charred memory. The fire was contained and no one else's property was involved, thank God.
Now the fun begins.
My older brother arrived from work minutes before I did and was hugging his son.
Trying to be sensitive, but by my claim adjuster in me kicked in.
So, what happened?
Young Einstein decided to fill the gas powered lawnmower in the WOODEN SHED filled with combustible crap. The Shed is easy 12 x 12.
He says that during this process, he somehow bumped over some matches and the next he knew the lawnmower was on fire......
Did I mention the fact, that my sister-in-law grabbed me before I encountered my brother and nephew, and asked about investigative dogs?
Why dear sister is this an issue? I dared to ask.
It seems as though one of her friends was storing her pot in the shed. I assured her that based on the damage that there were just very happy firefighters. Oh dear God.
Because I couldn't help myself, I pressed on, was there anything else in there? Dad's antiques and my craft stuff. Newsflash, rich people have antiques, poor people have old shit)
The fire and police chief questioned my nephew. I could tell that the Fire Chief wasn't buying his story but there was no evidence to point to arson.
I love my nephew but the chain of events does not make sense.
Before I left for the night, I looked at my brother and it seemed to be a backdrop of his life. He looked so beat down. His road has not been easy. His wife and kids have been the source of plenty of heartache.
The next day, I shared my concerns with my brother. It didn't make sense to him either but his son is sticking with his story.
My heart just sunk. So I suggested that we put him in a Family Witness Protection Program. He is very low maintenance. Just go for bread and not come home. He could take the youngest but that is it.
We laughed sort of...