Wednesday, June 08, 2005


So here it is, 12:00 noon, and I'm feeding the girls their lunch of bean soup and peanut-butter sandwiches. It's business as usual, with me chafing at the latest round of goofiness - I ask a question about their morning at school, and get a silly answer customized to test my patience. In the distance we hear the town's Volunteer Fire Department, striking up the sirens and peeling off. Doubtless they're off to address yet another set-upon farmer - it's been a very dry spring, and the VFD have had to attend to barn-fires, and the like.

Then I'm smelling, well, smoke. It's not uncommon for neighbors to burn tree-trimmings and yard-waste in fire-barrels, but this smells decidedly industrial - like shingles burning. The sirens get closer. I jump to my feet and race outside.

Two doors down, our neighbor's house is flaming like a toasted marshmallow.

Curious how quickly the mind does its survival math. Wind + Dry = THREAT!! I gather up the girls and hustle them back to their school two blocks away, then return to the house to figure out what to salvage first if the blaze skips roofs. The smoke is now white, however, and the VFD seem to have things under control.

Our neighbors are in profound crisis, of course, and I am duly impressed by the calming talents of our volunteers.

As for me, I might just breath a sigh of relief - in a day or two.

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