Before Monday, I had already spent some time thinking about how recent natural disasters have left folks in other parts of the country without their homes.

Hundreds of houses and businesses were lost and dozens were killed in Western Kentucky tornadoes last month, and now a Colorado wildfire burning in the Boulder area has destroyed close to a thousand homes.

What’s it like to lose everything at once?

I hope to never find out. I lost my blue Kerr-Vance Academy basketball jacket in college, and I’m still not over it.

I envy the people we see in the news that are just thankful to be alive after disasters, never mind their belongings.

On Monday morning in Dabney, the home of Teresa and Tom Smith was ripped apart by a downed tree that crushed a whole side of their house. It won’t be an easy or inexpensive fix, but at least the home wasn’t a total loss. And remarkably, no one was injured.

Teresa, who had a legitimately close call with death, said the things you always hear from people after these events: She was grateful to God for having survived.

Her daughter Leslie said something that resonated more with me though. Leslie had been told all morning that the house was only “material.” But for her, it was actually more than that. She grew up there. It was home.

Home is a feeling as much as it is a building or a yard. And yes, a house can be replaced.

So can a jacket.

But the replacements aren’t quite the same in every case.

Maybe it should be OK to grieve the loss of material things that bring you comfort, provided you go about in a healthy manner. And perhaps we should be mindful of that as those in Kentucky, Colorado — and Dabney — rebuild.

EXTRA POINTS• Like East Carolina, N.C. State was unable to play its bowl game last week because its opponent canceled due to COVID issues. At least Boston College gave ECU a day’s notice; UCLA pulled out only hours before kickoff, prompting N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren to publicly criticize how UCLA handled the matter. The loss was particularly deflating for the nine-win Wolfpack since they were denied what would have been their first 10-win season since 2002. Actually, N.C. State counted the game in its record book as a victory anyway, but surely, an asterisk will have to go by it, right?

• Betty White died on Friday, only three weeks before her 100th birthday. I think if we asked N.C. State officials, they would probably say, “Close enough. Let’s just put her down for 100.”

• Jokes aside, may Betty White rest in peace. And a 9-3 season with a bulk of your talent returning for next year is still plenty for Wolfpack fans to be excited about.

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