It was old friend Billy Beck who attracted my attention to the situation going on in Paris.

After getting an initial feel for the situation, I told him:

This is going to seem out of place I suppose yeah, but here it is. I am hearing that the place was under renovation.

That brought me back to a number of years ago to an absolutely ancient merry-go-round in a place called Seabreeze north of Rochester. That place also was under renovation, and with the ancient wood in the structure once it got going there was no stopping it.

I had many reports from eyewitnesses including some volunteers in the district the firemen were literally crying as they tried to put the fire out. The frustration and the anguish on their faces told the tale or so I was told. I even wrote an extensive piece on the subject at the time. This would have been what, 1994 I’m thinking.

Obviously, I’m not equating the two situations completely.

But for me, there is enough of a similarity there to allow me to draw on my own experience as to what the loss in Paris must be to those people, yes, including those fighting the fire.

I expect eventually to hear from the French a lot of back and forth about what specifically started the fire and the renovation process is going to play large in that conversation.

It sounds, I suppose, like I’m trying to make light of France losing part of its heritage to fire. Far from it, the incident I mention was part of local history in Rochester for over a century. It was part of the area’s soul. Certainly, it doesn’t go back as far or nearly as deep perhaps as that of Notre Dame to the Parisians… but one tends to lean on one’s personal experience when trying to wrap their minds around somebody else’s problems.

I went on to say:

I’m actually going to have to dig that article that I wrote out because there’s another point to be made here.

The owners at seabreeze went ahead and rebuilt the round. They did a wonderful job and it was rightly done. But I found for all the good work that they did, I couldn’t bring myself to tell my two boys that I had ridden that round many times as a youngster myself. I don’t know specifically why that rubs me so but it does. I suppose it’s an intangible quality.

Assuming that they rebuild at Notre Dame, and knowing the French they probably will, I can’t help but wonder if the experience won’t be similarly lacking for future visitors after a rebuild.

I have, whether fortunately or unfortunately, been blessed with a life where that kind of major loss in the local culture has been few and far between. So frankly, the memory of that day in 1994 is probably the closest thing I can come to, to wrap my arms around the depth of what’s happening in Paris right now. I can only begin to calculate and not much more, the psychological loss to France.

Certainly, there is also the specter of 9/11… a certain amount of soul was ripped away from New York City when the twin towers went down years ago. That event was cause for the very first article I wrote in this blog. And yes, at that point I hadn’t spent a great deal of time in New York City, and therefore my identification with the place was somewhat limited.

But the idea of 9/11 brings to mind another issue… the possibility that this was an act of terrorism, something I’ve seen several people already allude to.

Drudge just now is running reminder headlines from the attacks on Notre Dame in 2016… Attacks that were thwarted at the time.

I’m not quite ready to jump on the terrorism bandwagon yet, though frankly it wouldn’t su rprise me if they find that to be the cause of all this, particularly given there was a fire in another ancient Church in Paris just last week, according to some reports I’ve seen.

At this point, further speculation is useless, until the local authorities get involved.