After fleeing his home, 93-year-old Santa Rosa resident shares perspective … and a sweet poem

By Cindy Huge


(Photo by Cindy Huge)

“I saw the glow over the hill to the south, and I knew it was a fire,” said Taylor Finlay.

Quickly fleeing his home of many years, Finley had time to grab only a few items, one of them being his precious, hand-carved walking stick. He was one of thousands of residents who sought shelter with the American Red Cross, as the California wildfires broke out last week in Santa Rosa.

Finley described himself as living life simply without a cell phone or computer. “Whatever will be will be,” he stated, considering the possibility of not having a home to return to. He went on to speak about the beautifully long life he has lived and how he misses his wife Charlette of 47 years, who recently died. He shared with me, along with a few tears, the following poem, he wrote:

The loveliest sight that I ever did see — her smile
The loveliest sound that I ever did hear — her laughter
The most beautiful woman that I ever did know — was Charlette

As the days progress, residents like Taylor Finlay, will meet with Red Cross Client Caseworks to develop a recovery plan. Meanwhile, he will continue to remain in a safe and comfortable place, with food and water, surrounded by caring and compassionate volunteers who are able to meet his most urgent needs.


Cindy Huge is a Public Affairs Volunteer for the American Red Cross.