Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Front Porch View of....Smoke!

By: L.A. Kohl
March 23, 2005
(published in the Wed., Apr. 6, '05 edition of the Bullseye, Vol. 1, No. 24)

Seeing as how there are some of you out there expecting me to write this article, here you go! But, let me say that I’m not going to enjoy writing it, and I hope and pray it’s the last opportunity I ever have of doing one like it.

Yes, recently the view from our front porch did include the presence of smoke...lots of it for a few moments. And no, it wasn’t from the barbeque grill or the outdoor wood furnace. It was from a “ground cover” fire that got started because my husband wanted to do a little clearing and help the kids make S’mores.

He wasn’t really to blame. He did the right kind of things...clearing leaves and debris around a perimeter, and making sure the wind wasn’t too gusty. But somehow one small gust blew something over the cleared perimeter, and within moments flames were spreading through the woods in the direction of our house. Our older girls, plus a couple of their friends, were down there with him and tried to help get it back under control, but all the dead, dry leaves in the woods during this time of year just made it too difficult for them to handle.

It was one time when my husband was quick to admit he needed help...which doesn’t happen very often! The fire was still several hundred feet from the house (and the phone) so he jumped in the vehicle to come up and call 911. As he left, he yelled at all the girls, “Don’t get too close to it, go up ahead and start clearing a path, and pray that the wind changes!”

Anyone that has ever had to call “911” knows that it seems to take forever before they arrive, since you’re well-nigh holding your breath. In reality, it was just a few minutes. But within that time, those hard working, and harder praying, girls were close to getting things back in control...because the wind did change directions. They said they literally felt it happen. Gotta love it when that happens!

Volunteer fireman also started arriving at about that time, and they helped ensure that things really were under control. You also gotta love those people who are willing to volunteer their time, any day or night, to just drop everything and go help someone out that they may or may not know.

So, once again, we’ve learned that the best laid plans can go awry...and good intentions sometimes get you in trouble. However, when it was all over, we found a little pile of burning debris and roasted our marshmallows so we could make S’mores.

I think in the bigger picture of life that could mean this: things often don’t go the way you plan, but you can still try and make the most of it, especially for the sake of your children. You know that old saying about when life gives you lemons, make lemonade? Well, I guess we now have a new saying around here...when life gives you a wildfire, break out the marshmallows!

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