We should all remember the story of Stone Soup, where a weary and hungry traveler comes into town looking for a meal. But none of the townspeople have enough food to share, and he’s turned down everywhere he goes. However, once he tells everyone that he has a recipe for a wonderful stone soup and just needs a few garnishes to make it great, all of a sudden everyone works together to create a fantastic meal for the entire town. It’s a lesson in sharing and caring for your fellow man (and woman).
I was reminded of this parable after reading many of the stories coming out of Chico, CA, due to the evacuation from the fires in Paradise, CA. To me, at least, this tragedy seems to have happened only yesterday as well as years ago. Sadly, it’s becoming the same old story, over and over again.
As we all know by now, some 90% to 95% of the homes in Paradise were destroyed in the fire hardly two months ago. And along with it, much of the infrastructure of the town was affected. That means the stores, businesses, restaurants, gas stations, water utilities, power grid, and nearly everything else we think of as civilization literally went up in flames. And even sadder were the scores of deaths, some 88 lost souls at last count, along with hundreds of pets. Paradise will certainly takes years or possibly decades to be rebuilt, but for now some 28,000 people who were evacuated had to move somewhere. And for many of them that somewhere was Chico, CA, a scant 15 miles away.
Now, Chico didn’t have to welcome in these refugees from the fire in Paradise. But they did. And it appears that just like the weary traveler in the story of Stone Soup, many townspeople in Chico have been combining their limited resources to help make life bearable for those displaced by the fire. While camping in a popup tent in a Walmart parking lot doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, in fact it was welcomed by many families who had lost everything just days before.
And now I’m hearing stories from my own readers that some of you have loaned these Paradise evacuees your own RV trailers, and many have allowed former Paradise residents who had escaped with their own RVs to park on their Chico lawns and even ran an extension cord out to them for power.
I think of this as the modern day equivalent of Stone Soup. After a disaster of this magnitude, nobody has a lot, but everyone has a little, even if it’s just their own desire to protect their family. And if everyone combines what little they have, then the sum of the parts can be more than the individual components.
So when someone in need asks for help, I think it’s our duty as human beings to try to assist them in any way we can. Perhaps it’s as simple as letting a family who was displaced by a fire or hurricane camp on our lawn. Or maybe its using your talents to set up a soup kitchen to feed the masses. There are thousands of ways you can help others who have been struck by tragedy. But most of all we just need to show compassion and lend a helping hand to those in need, especially considering the season.
Chuck is going to be visiting Chico very soon and has promised to bring back field reports from the residents and evacuees. I’ll bet he will have some heartwarming stories to tell, which we can all look forward to.
Email me at mike (at) noshockzone.org with your questions.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.