Crawling away to hide is not an option – at least not for Tucsonan Rodney F. White. He refuses to give up even though his house burned down and he lost much of what he owned. Even though the fire killed his best friend Gracie.
Gracie was a dog, but no ordinary pooch. She was one of those special animals filled with enough spirit and love to even make a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s become playful and lucid when Gracie came to visit.
White, a lifelong photographer and longtime Mesquite Valley Growers employee, got the phone call Sunday morning while he was at work. He was told the cozy home he’s been renting for the past 11 years was on fire with a heat so intense that it blew out all the windows. “It’s bad,” the property manager told him over the phone.
“What about Gracie?” Rodney asked.
“It’s bad,” the manager repeated.
When he rushed back to the midtown abode, the place was still smoldering. Gracie’s body was wrapped in one of his work shirts and placed beneath a mesquite tree. Rodney pulled out the camera he had on him and began to take photos of the fiery wreckage.
“People are looking at me with my camera,” he said. “I told them it was my house and this is what I do.” He’s been hooked on photography since he received a camera for Christmas when he was about 9. The new camera he just bought was destroyed in the fire, as was the original camera that kicked off his passion some 50 years hence.
All of his electronics melted from the heat, but he’s hoping he can salvage his computer’s hard drive to retrieve the photos he recently took for a friend’s wedding. And the hundreds of photos of Gracie.