By Jackie Deal

You don’t know how good you’ve got it until you meet someone else who’s got it worse! I’m sitting out a Level 1, expecting Level 2 at any minute; yes, I’m talking about the forest fires ravaging Oregon. They’ve evacuated about 10 miles East of us. The smoke and ash are so thick you can’t see a block away. I can’t see my favorite mountain that rises right behind my place. It’s another in the strange feelings recent events have caused. Life is suspended. All that exists, outside my window is a world of gray, cold, uninviting. Maybe this is how a goldfish feels in his little bowl of water!
I’m packed; my “To Go Bag” is in the trunk, my car full of gas. And where would we go? Well, let’s see: there are fires North of us, fires South of us and fires East of us. Guess that leaves West to the Pacific Ocean! (Yes, spell-corrector I‘m capitalizing them because they’re so important!)
About an hour ago I met a young woman buying piles of clothes at the Thrift store. “Are you from Nonpareil?” I asked. “Yah”, she said, “and I only got out with the clothes on my back when they evacuated us.” I’ve got a pair of jeans and a couple of shirts, sweatshirts etc. in my trunk. Nothing fancy, no dress-up clothes.
My next-door neighbor in Quartzsite comes to Oregon for the summer just like I do. I live in an Escapees co-op park in Sutherlin, Oregon and she works at a campground at Detroit Lakes, Oregon. They were evacuated, Level 3. She got in her motor home, her son in her car and they headed west. Fires were burning on both sides of the highway, trees were falling across the highway. Things were so bad her son drove on ahead to see if it got better. He came back, “Mom, its worse; turn around. We have to go back.”
They headed back east only to run into State Troopers, “Lady, you turn that RV around and get out of here! It’s worse the way you’re going now!” They made it back west through the inferno to safety but they hope never to do it again!
The ash has tapered off; is that a good sign? The smoke is worse, visibility is nil. Yesterday we had the most beautiful sunset at 2:30 p.m. One good thing: the smoke has blocked the sun and the high 90s temperatures we were expecting haven’t materialized. In fact it’s cold: low 50s.
What’s ahead, I don’t know. I’m writing this, going to email it and only time will tell. Have we got it good or not?


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  1. Anonymous says:

    No matter how bad things are for us, you can bet it’s worse for someone else. We are all so fortunate for the things we have and the life we have led. In 2005 Rita and I boogie out a day ahead of 5 hurricanes.It was super scary at the time, but we were able to look back and be reminded of how fortunate we were. IT WILL GET BETTER!

  2. Rick De Young says:

    Nice report, Jackie. We can always count on you for a ray of sunshine through the gloom. RDY

  3. Suzanne Budovec #123 says:

    Yes, time will tell! Thanks for expressing the thoughts that most of us are thinking. May God bless us all & keep us safe & well. God bless all of the West Coast!

  4. Gwen Prohaska says:

    Jackie, you said that just right. “Life is suspended.” Feels like being quarantined again without fresh air.

    What is that saying, “If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.”

    Hang in Timber Valley friends.

  5. Carolyn Pennington says:

    Nineteen years since 9/11 !! Things could be a lot worse. Thanks Jackie for reminding us how fortunate we are ❤️

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