Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle

In the early hours of Monday, July 10, a small
building passed away. It was in a remote corner
of the world, one noticed by few, and cared about by
an even smaller number. You wonder, I suppose,
how a building can die? And why that would be
important? If you've known a beloved building you
will understand--this building had a heart. It held
the soul of this small village, and of a kinder, gentler
time. The Pioneer was a genuine, old time general
store where you could find most anything you needed,
providing you were willing to squeeze through crowded
aisles to find it among the myriad shelves of unrelated
items. The owners were helpful and kind, they cared about
their customers. And their customers cared about them.

The building was over a century old, built in 1900 and
it's destruction is, by far, the lesser tragedy, for two people
lost their lives and at least seven others were injured. The only
blessing is that it didn't happen in the daytime, when the
village is filled with tourists. A gas leak is suspected, but
there is no final determination of cause for the explosions
that rocked the village in the night, destroying or seriously
damaging three different buildings.

For those of us who live nearby, and for all who loved this
old building, there is a deep sadness that will never be healed,
no matter what fancy new store takes it's place. The ghost
of the old Pioneer will always live in our hearts.

This poem or part of a poem came my way this morning.
It seems appropriate:

Some say you're lucky
if nothing shatters it.

But then you wouldn't
understand poems or songs.
You'd never know
beauty comes from loss.

It's deep inside every person:
a tear tinier
than a pearl or thorn.

It's one of the places
where the beloved is born.

- Gregory Orr


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