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I was mixing up a carrot cake for a meeting that I was going to the next day, when my Sweet Al ran in the house.
“Call the fire department, I’ve got a grass fire.”
“Al, what have you done?” I questioned him as I dialed 911.
The neighbor called. “You have a fire going up the hill, call nine-one-one.”
“We’ll be right there.” The neighbors showed up with shovels and a tractor.
I threw the carrot cake in the oven and went to see what mischief Al had got himself into.
The fire department came with trucks and firefighters. The fire marshal came to the scene, also the police and the ambulance came. The fire marshal asked Al if he had read the pamphlet when he purchased his burn permit.
Al sheepishly said, “No, I didn’t know there was one.”
Our neighbors were already digging a trench around the fire. Dan has a state-of-the-art irrigation system. He went to the pump, filled up his big plastic container, drove his truck over and used his tractor’s front loader to spread the water. Two of our neighbors are firefighters. They worked diligently to put out the fire.
I said to my daughter, “Our neighbors worked so hard and moved so quickly, they didn’t let any grass grow under their feet, burnt or otherwise.”
“I feel an article coming on,” my daughter responded.
“All I know is we sold our round house this week and your dad could have burned it down in the same week.”
We’ve got good neighbors. They came to our rescue once again. If they see Al struggling with something in the yard, they come over and help him. Al won’t ask for help, but they insist. They watch over us as if we were their own parents.
Meanwhile, my cake was baking and the fire was still burning.
The fire department stayed until every inch of the fire and smoke was gone. I was amazed at the care the fire department and the others gave us.
When Al came into the house, I said, “What more mischief can you get into?”
He said, “I think I’ll stay in the house for the rest of the day.”
On my way to the meeting the next morning, I picked up a friend and told her about the fire. Then it hit me. I said to her, “I don’t think I put nuts in the mix. A carrot cake isn’t worth eating without nuts. People brag about my carrot cake because I always put in double nuts.” I went on and on.
When we arrived they saw the cake pan and were excited. “Oh, Betty brought her carrot cake.”
“No, no, no. I have to apologize about the cake. Al was burning trash and started a grass fire. We had the fire department and the neighbors all working to put it out. I forgot to put in the nuts, but I brought the cake anyway.”
I think what I learned is, until we have a need, we don’t know how precious and beautiful the people are around us. The fire department and our neighbors were there to help us.
Final brushstroke: Yes, there were a few nuts in the mix after all the big to-do I made, and I’m looking at this sweet nut sitting across from me. I don’t think I’ll ever crack him. It’s going to take the Lord to crack this one.
In my recent article, “Who is taking responsibility,” my nephew, Dave, wrote these words: “Perfectly fine to share Max’s story. But some of your facts were not correct. Total expenditures were about $75,000 for drug rehab and reform schools; Max was not with his ex-girlfriend when he died. He was with three drug buddies, none of whom took him to the hospital. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance by the paramedics. Other than that, good story. Very compelling and hopefully, it will move some of your readers toward action. Blessings, Dave Slade.”