News-Thankful to God and Firefighters-Threadbare Gypsy Soul

Thankful to God and Firefighters

It all started the afternoon to the kick-off of the Labor Day weekend. I received a text from our neighbor around 3:00 in the afternoon that a large wildfire had broken out and was headed toward our properties, and authorities were already saying we may have to evacuate and to be prepared to go. 

I walked outside and you could immediately see smoke billowing out from behind our pond. 

Within an hour huge embers were falling from the sky.

We watched the smoke steadily move south away from us from 3:00 pm to almost midnight. It was September 1st and we had just had a Blue Moon (third full moon in one month, a few days prior in August) so the moon was still nice and large and bright. Around midnight I walked outside to tell my husband I was going to put some food and water out for our feral barn cat, Boo Ratley. The moon was clearly visible, big bright and orange with smoke still well to the south of it. As I was walking over to the barn the moon all of a sudden disappeared, black smoke appeared over the top of us, and it sounded like it was raining! Only it wasn’t raining water, it was raining embers, and this time they were hot! I heard my husband yell my name and say “we have to go!”  I ran back to the house, through the smoke and embers, and grabbed the bag I had packed earlier with a few essentials and a few precious memories. I grabbed our dogs, Johnny and June, and loaded them up in my Jeep. About that time the firefighters were at our house urging us to leave and clearing anything and everything from around our home. I drove over to the barn and somehow our feral barn cat, Boo Ratley, let me get ahold of him, amidst the chaos and smoke, and let me put him in a kennel and into the Jeep with our dogs.

I drove out to the road and met more truckloads of firefighters and waited for my husband to drive out. He had grabbed several heirloom guns and his Daddy’s Bible and my Papaw’s Bible, turned the sprinkler on the chicken coop hoping it would give our hens a fighting chance, and met me on the road.

This was the scene as we drove away leaving the home my husband had just finished building, leaving our chickens behind, and so many pictures and memories of our children, and pictures and documents and antiques left to us from grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents.  

The next morning we were allowed to come back home. Our home was spared along with all six neighbor’s homes on our little road in the woods! We checked on the chickens, and all were safe! I let Boo Ratley out of the kennel at the barn. He was wet, from promptly spilling his water and food the second I had placed it in the kennel with him after we evacuated, but he was safe and alive! I figured he would be angry with me for several days but he wasn’t. He rubbed around my legs and purred as soon as I let him out. I bent down and tried to pick him up to love on him but that is where he drew the line! While he still loved me, it was clear he did not trust me to pick him up, for fear I would throw him in a kennel and into my Jeep with Johnny and June again!

We were not home for even an hour, when we got the code red again that we were to evacuate immediately, and firefighters once again were pouring onto our property because the fire was almost surrounding our home.

I tried to catch Boo Ratley but he was too scared and wouldn’t let me get a hold of him this time. We left, once again, but this time having to leave both the cat and our hens behind.

We left the second time in more fear than the first! It was such a helpless feeling, having no way to help protect your home and animals, and having little communication and information. Luckily we had our outdoor cameras, where we could at least, monitor and see if fire was visible from our front door, carport and barn. We watched as dozens of firefighters at our home alone, literally had fire watch and surrounded our home all night to keep it safe! We later learned that teams were stationed at every one of our neighbor’s homes too to protect them. 

Also, as God would have it, my best friend’s nephew was with Texas A&M Forestry Service and was actually the Head of Command for this wildfire! He kept us well informed and made sure our road got heavy resources with air power of both water and fire retardant. In hindsight, after watching these crews fight this fire for 15 days, it’s clear these men and women and the resources utilized to protect our homes and properties would have been utilized regardless if Command had a personal connection to us or not. It became evident within just a few days that these men and women were passionate about what they do and they were not going to let our homes and properties go up in flames on their watch! 

The next morning they gave us the all clear once again. As we drove back in, past the fifty plus firefighters on our road, we were overcome with emotion as we saw nothing had been touched by fire. Our hens and Boo Ratley were safe!  Only the hens would let me hold them though… Boo wasn’t having it! Oh, and it was my Husband’s 50th birthday! Not how we planned to celebrate that day, but we were celebrating for that and so many additional reasons!


The fire would continue to blaze for another 12 days! We watched in amazement daily, as the Forestry Service from Texas and Florida and the firefighter Teams from Bexar County, Galveston, Corpus Christi and Conroe, along with our local Crabbs Prairie firefighting teams coordinated the fighting effort with teams on the ground and in the air.

Our neighbors and the community came together and tried to keep them well fed while they were here, so that food was one thing they didn’t have to worry about. We were just so appreciative and it felt like the least and the only thing we could do.

We are so thankful for James with the Texas Forestry Service for keeping us well informed the first couple of days and coordinating the protection of our homes.

We are forever grateful and indebted to the sixty plus firefighters on the ground, Dale and his team from Bexar County, Galveston, Florida, Corpus Christi, Conroe, and I am sure many more that we were not aware of, who were away from their families for two weeks while they fought our fire, cut bulldozer lines, and battled our sandy and dusty dry conditions in 110 degree heat (and that’s just the outside temp not including the heat from the fires)! Thank you Dale and The Crew! Please thank your families for their sacrifice as well while you were away from them protecting us!

IMG_3322-Threadbare Gypsy Soul

The last few weeks have really made us realize how much we must rely on and thank God, neighbors, community and our first responders!


1. What does God say about firefighters?

While there is no direct mention of firefighters in religious texts, their selflessness and courage align with many principles of helping others found in various faiths.

2. How do you say thank you to firefighters?

Express gratitude through verbal thanks, written notes, community support events, or social media recognition.

3. Why should we be thankful for firefighters?

Firefighters risk their lives, ensure community safety, possess specialized skills, and respond swiftly to emergencies, making gratitude for their service essential.

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1 comment

oh my….. I am so glad you are all safe. How scary


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