On Friday mornings, my neighbor and I have a standing date to walk down to our local farmers market together. Her one-year-old happily rides along in his stroller, munching on strawberries. Occasionally, though, like when I arrange to pick up a 25-pound box of canning tomatoes, we drive my friend’s minivan instead of walking.
This was one of those mornings.
A few blocks from my house, and hence, only a few blocks from the market, my friend suddenly stopped in mid-conversation, slowed down, and pointed. She had a “Wha–?” expression on her face. I looked over and saw a beat-up pickup truck, a really beat-up pickup, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Oh, except for the smoke pouring out of the cab. I didn’t notice that at first. Or the full-on flames visible through the open peep window in the back of the cab.
Yes, a fire. In this person’s truck. At 7:30 in the morning. With nobody else around.
My friend pulled over and I ran over to the house to pound on the door. (Far be it from me to approach a vehicle that is quickly getting consumed in flames. I’ve seen movies. I know how these things go.) A startled fellow opened the door, and I gestured madly at him, nearly yelling: “YOUR TRUCK IS ON FIRE!”
How often does one get to say that?
He turned to holler at someone in the house, ran to the truck, and, I suppose realizing what a lost cause it was, phoned the fire department.
We, meanwhile, continued calmly down the road to the market. While stopped at a red light on Main Street, we heard the sirens and within moments a wailing fire truck. We patted ourselves on the back, confident that we had personally been responsible for saving the day.
Let me emphasize something though. The fire truck zoomed by us, for real, less than five minutes since the call had been made. I would say it was more like two minutes, but I don’t want you to think I am exaggerating. I’m not. It was fast. My town is small.
And that’s what I call yet another reason I’m glad I live in small community: not only do we tell our neighbors when their trucks are on fire, but our fire department is pretty darn efficient.