In the morning, David’s brother arrived with Lyla. Lyla played with the girls while Tim helped us clear out the garage. Working together, we rapidly sorted through the Fishers’ remaining belongings.

David and Tim, December 2010
When Tim came, he and David relived the extent of the housefire. Tim lived in this house for at least eight years.

The girls playing with Qian Qian, December 2010
The girls loved playing with Lyla again. She is so accommodating of their games.

Cleaning out the garage, December 2010
Once we had sorted through most of the stuff, we removed the old furniture that had been sitting in the garage for years by destroying it and then carting it away in pieces.

By evening-time, we were ready for some rest and recreation. After finishing dinner, we headed out for a family walk.

Going for a walk, December 2010
At dusk, we set off as a group for a walk around the quiet streets.

Walking, December 2010
This is what we love to do — treks as a family.

Walking, December 2010
A walk at dusk — even around suburban streets — is a peaceful way to end the day.

Playing on the playground at night, December 2010
The girls loved playing on the playground, even though it was dark!

Our evening walk ended up at a house that proudly displayed a grand set of Christmas lights. We walked up close to the house and admired the display. When one of the occupants came out, David complimented her on the lights. She returned inside without engaging us in conversation.

Has our society forgotten about common courtesy and polite conversation? This brief encounter has encouraged me to be generally more friendly with those to whom I come into contact.