Finding a simpler house after a fire

Twelve years of blood, sweat and tears went up in smoke while Lori and Terry Rigdon celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary at Gulf Shores.

A florescent light in the attached shop shorted out. A son and the neighbors noticed the flames. At first contained, the fire broke out and spread into the attic. Not all the house burned, “but with the smoke and water damage, the insurance company declared it a total loss,” Lori said.

“We were able to salvage all my photographs. If I had lost my pictures, that would have been devastating. I was heart broken to lose my keepsakes: the kids’ baby books and school work.” The rest of the stuff, Lori did not miss. “I quickly realized I had no need for all that other stuff like the dishes. Why get so many, when all you really need is an eight-place setting. There is no need for three sets of dishes, pots and pans or more Tupperware than you use or know what to do with. There was nothing to miss. It was almost like I could not remember what we had.”

Through the generosity of others, “our basic needs were met. The insurance company put us up in a hotel for a month. Then a friend offered us an apartment and we moved in there. The insurance covered that for about six months. We looked all through El Dorado for a new house. The housing market was not that good. Older homes were selling for high prices.”

In the midst of all that, through the loss of the house and most of its contents, Lori realized she wanted a simpler life, including a smaller house. They found nothing so the Rigdons decided to build.

“We can start looking for a property to build on,” Terry said.

They looked and Lori designed a house with an eye to their soon to be empty nest and future retirement years. “One night I drew out a floor plan. This is all I want – a simple square, not a two-story,” Lori told Terry.

“I knew it would be our forever home,” she said.

“We found a lot on the street where we live now. Right there next door to the lot was the house I wanted. ‘That’s the house I want,’” Lori told Terry.

“That house is not for sale,” he said.

“That’s the house I want.” she repeated.

“We continued to look and found another house, that kinda fit our needs with a high price. We made an offer then laid in bed that night hoping it did not go through.”

“Thankfully, the Realtor said someone else bought it for a higher price. We had floods of relief, but we were back to square one.”

“I knew that wherever we went would be our forever home. I did not want to settle. I sat waiting, hoping and praying.”

Weeks later Terry’s sister asked if Lori had seen a certain house for sale.

Lori looked it up. It was the house she had said she wanted.

They went to tour it. “As soon as we opened the door we looked at each other and I said, ‘This is the exact floor plan I drew out.’ ‘Yep, this is your square,’Terry agreed.”

The sellers wanted more than the Realtor said it was worth. “We made an offer and waited it out. Finally they came down to what we offered and we have been here ever since. It isn’t fancy. It’s simple. It fits us. It is a humble gift from God. He really does know our wants and needs.”

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