Blog: Shake, Rattle, and Roll

Burt Ross

When years ago my daughter Kate was applying to medical schools in California, Joan Gavin, my late mother-in-law, didn’t quite understand why anybody would move to a place ravaged by wild fires and earthquakes. She was anything but a worry wart and unusually non interfering, so I figured she just didn’t want to lose her granddaughter to some far-off place.

The more I live here, the more I am beginning to think my mother-in-law was on to something. I always thought that fires were a rare occurrence, and somehow earthquakes were a thing of the past like the one that hit San Francisco in 1906. 

I unfortunately tend to learn everything the hard way, and I am getting a tough education once again. It seems like when I lost my home to the Woolsey fire, I joined a club with a rather large membership—people in Malibu who have lost their homes to fire. I actually overheard a couple of real estate agents talking to one another, and if I heard correctly, they had each lost their homes to fire on two separate occasions—not a fact they should share with potential home buyers. 

Although I have already succumbed to one fire, at least I have been spared a significant earthquake. Recent rumblings are beginning to make me feel like I am living on borrowed time. Back in October I wrote  a column “My Shaking Butt” about how an earthquake seemed centered directly under my butt while sitting in a chair minding my own business.

More recently, on Monday morning November 15 to be exact, I was talking with my bride when we heard a thump and the glass door beside us rattled. In other words, we  experienced  “shake, rattle and roll” without the “shake” or the “roll.” What was so strange was nothing else seemed even the slightest  bid out of the ordinary.

I fear the Man Upstairs (or Woman Upstairs) is trying to tell me something like “go back to Jersey,” and I don’t want to hear it. If my mother-in-law  is listening, and if there is a heaven, she is most definitely there, all I can say is “it looks like you were right again.”

POSTSCRIPT: I submitted the above column before the Santa Ana winds and the SCE power outage annihilated Thanksgiving. Food perished in our refrigerator as we scrambled to find a restaurant that would seat us for the holiday. I apologize for failing to list the near hurricane winds with the fires and earthquakes as significant trials and tribulations of living in paradise.