When we in Napa got the telephone call that Calistoga had a mandatory evacuation order, most of us began packing in preparation for our own dreaded message from the Office of Emergency Services. Thankfully the fire went back over the mountain, but seeing the TV coverage of historic Calistoga reduced to a ghost town of desolate, empty streets was heartbreaking.
Recently, we decided to take a ride to Calistoga to give our support to the people and the businesses and found on our arrival a most amazing and inspiring scene of resilience and gratitude. Everywhere we looked, there were colorful and creative signs thanking the heroic first responders who had saved their town.
At one unique artistic display, we were able to write our own messages of thanks on orange card stock tags and attach them to a growing number of others who had taken the opportunity to join in with well wishes.
Starting with an "over the top" breakfast at Cafe Sarafornia served by the delightfully enthusiastic Anna, we visited the various stores and talked at length to the shop keepers who all displayed and spoke of their gratitude that their town had been saved. The Carmel Gallery had two floors of absolutely beautiful paintings and other art objects and it would be hard to imagine the destruction the fire could have caused to that lovely shop.
As book lovers, we spent a lot of time in Copperfields and again it would have been devastating to have lost their inventory. Bella Bakery is most certainly the best way to finish the day with a tasty morsel to take home.
It's hard to believe it's over three weeks since we started watching news coverage and reading daily reports (thank you, Napa Valley Register) and seeing our community leaders (thank you, Mayor Techel, supervisors, city council, etc. and first responders) update us on the disastrous fires.
We learned what N95 masks were capable of doing and listened eagerly of containment numbers and sadly heard of the deaths of the Rippeys and Dr. Chaney and others. Friends lost homes and acreage, burned hills and vineyards and so many charred trees and brush have changed the landscape we were accustomed to but through it all I only hear positive and hopeful comments. So many stories are still being told about the generosity and help that was extended (and still is).
The outpouring of support and help given to all of us in the Napa Valley will always be remembered, and I'd like to repeat Nancy Tamarisk's closing sentiment from her letter of Nov. 2 ("Spirit of community flourished"). "My prayer is that we remember and continue to practice the spirit of kindness and community these fires have ignited."
Teresa Cahill and Terry Lockrem