14 December 2008

From Ashes to A Dream Fullfilled

What do we do if we went out for an evening with friends and came home to find our house and everything that we own burned down to ashes? I don't have an answer and hope none of us ever need to find one.

Our friend, Jon Tobey had to face this devastating scenario on 14 Dec 2005 ...


He went to a coffee-shop, borrowed their computer and sent out this email ...

The good news is I think I've finally solved that rat problem.
The bad news is I'll probably have to move up to fat skis this year :-(

Because the really bad news is the when I got home last night my house had burned down.
All of my work GONE.
The 2000 pictures I took this year, my friends art, family heirlooms GONE.
Computers cameras music GONE.
My roomates entire life's possessions GONE.
My collection of fine male lingerie GONE.
The book of short stories I was finally putting together GONE. (If I ever sent you a story, please search for it, I consider this my biggest loss.)
500 bottles of wine, 35 gallons of mead, 40 gallons of beer all really, really gone.
The Hurricane
Over a dozen fly rods ($1000 of which I bought in the last two days), reels, lines, waders
Tax stuff, legal stuff
Tools
2 brand new cans of Progresso soup
Christmas presents

Well you get the picture.
Nobody got hurt and on the bright side, I still have 40 gallons of Vienna lager in the lagering fridge, which is not gone.

I'll be looking for a place to crash/work. In the meantime I don't even have a phone and am on a coffee shop computer. Once I get a suitcase, I'll be living out of it.

EMAIL IS THE ONLY WAY TO CONTACT ME. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ME ANY PHONE MESSAGES.

My eyes swelled up when I read it.

Last month, some 3 years later, tears flowed again when Jon gave an emotional speech at the dress rehearsal for the staff of Balefire, a brand new pub on the corner of Hewitt Ave and Rockefeller Ave in Everett, Washington State. Only this time, they were tears of joy. Jon has full-filled his lifelong dream of owning a pub, a dream that was thrust into reality by unimaginable misfortune.

Breaking out the champagne at Dress Rehearsal.
Jon is 4th from right, 2nd row.

Yesterday was the 3rd anniversary of that fateful day and Jon, in typical positive thinking and forward movement fashion, celebrated it as the birth of Balefire. I couldn't attend but David went, and was very pleased to see his name engraved at a seat along the bar and a personalized beer mug. Both were Jon's way of recognizing the volunteers who joined him on his amazing journey out of adversity.

Business is picking up at Balefire and Jon certainly deserves the promising start. His story is an inspiring one to share especially during the current difficult and fearful economic times. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did in posting it here.

16 comments:

Akmal said...

Just a perfect example of not giving up!

Zue Murphy said...

Life is like a rollercoaster, at one point we are at the bottom and next back up at the top. I am happy to hear of his success.

Pak Idrus said...

Rita thanks for sharing this episode of your friend's live. Life is never without the up and down and it is only the one who never give up easy that would eventually be successful. I am indeed glad that your friend Jon Tobey has been successful in his endeavor - Like the Phoenix he has raised from the ashes. Congratulation to him and I believe he would be successful in his business.

Have a nice day and take care.

Salt N Turmeric said...

I cant imagine losing a house or anything.
Congrats to Jon for his new pub! If i ever make my way up there, we can go together-gether ya? ;)

Rita Ho said...

Agree, Akmal. If only there were more people out there who refuse to give up.

Rita Ho said...

Zue ... I too think many of us have had our share of roller coaster rides, just at different heights and depths. So important to stay positive and move forward instead of looking back but it's not always easy to do.

Rita Ho said...

Thank you for coming by, Pak Idrus. I'm glad you enjoyed Jon's story.

Rita Ho said...

Farina ... sure, we'll go to Balefire when you visit. Ada poker joint less than 5 miles from there! LOL!

BTW, are your friends still moving on Xmas week??

mº¿ºsh, brecht and nora said...

Dear Rita, Thanks for sharing this true life inspirational story, truly lift my spirits up on this tiring, gloomy day in Belgium! Our congrats to Jon for his success and it will be such an honour to meet such a person in real life!
Warm hugs, Mush

Salt N Turmeric said...

my frens tu kena put on hold. now kena wait for them to have another meeting in jan to decide whether or not they'r going. kesian diorang. kalau i dah bengang dah sbb kena put everyhting on hold.

Zawi said...

Rita,
How sad and devastating for Jon to lose everything. One can never tell when it is going to be our turn to suffer the same fate.

Rita Ho said...

Hey Mush ... I think you made Jon cry again. He cried when he read my thoughts. :)

The weather here is icy and getting worse with more snow on the way and single digit temps later. I think gloomy is a tad better as long as our spirits are high like yours.

Have a wonderful Christmas, Mush.

Rita Ho said...

That's terrible, Farina. Can't blame your friends for being upset. They've probably made all the life changing arrangements for the move. The MSFT freeze was in place way before you told me about them, so I hope it is just logistics that need to be sorted out.

Keeping fingers crossed for them. :)

Rita Ho said...

Zawi! Hi! I feel bad not having time to catch-up with you but am glad you are enjoy life in KB and Labuan.

Yes, fate decides but does not prepare us for what is ahead. We just have to stay in control and find the courage to face whatever comes our way.

Have a lovely fortnight towards the new year, Zawi. :)

HI said...

What a positive attitude. The reason why his business is becoming a success.

Rita Ho said...

Exactly, Hooi Imm. This has been proven over and over again by so many.