April 3, 1996
It was 20° below zero, unseasonably cold for April. After a few days of cleaning house, we decided to clean the shop. Dennis started a fire and we went for a walk with the dog. When we turned around a mile or so down the trail, we saw a tall plume of black smoke. There couldn't be that much smoke from the chimney, could there? We ran back. By the time we got there, the shop was engulfed in flames. We helplessly watched it burn, consuming twenty years of collected tools and parts. It will be difficult for those of you who have access to shopping centers to realize the value of the "junk" in that shop. It's a day's travel to the nearest store and back.
I was reading Corrie Ten Boom's book The Hiding Place aloud at the time. We spent much of the day in the main cabin reading, watching the building burn, and counting our blessings.
The photo above shows what was left after the fire. The aluminum roofing and glass melted, some of the aluminum into interesting works of "art" like that pictured on the left. We were incredibly fortunate that it was a cold, still day. The smoke went straight up. Surrounding vegetation and other structures were not at risk.
Our misfortunes didn't end. I drove Dennis' snowmachine on the trip out to the highway. It died suddenly. He was ahead of me. I started it again. A few hundred yards further on, it died again. I waited until he came back this time. He checked it out, couldn't find anything wrong, and started it. When it died for the third time, he did a thorough check. It was out of oil! The translucent oil container was stained so it looked like there was plenty of oil. By now, the engine had seized up. Dennis went back to the cabin on the good machine to get more oil. We made it to the highway at last and were fortunate that the machine served us for a few more years.
Go on to read The Lake Sings
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