Why Is There A Fire Truck Out Front?
A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO THERE WAS A FIRE at the apartment building two doors down the block. Fire Trucks, Paramedic Vans, and Police Cars filled the street. They all had their flashing red lights going. It was like living inside a Las Vegas slot machine.
Last night they were out there again – minus the cop cars.
We were sitting in front of the TV watching the schmaltzy Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. They start showing their Christmas movies about Halloween.
There we were, up to our knees in televised saccharine, when my wife, the lovely and ever observant, Dawn, noticed the red lights.
“There are red lights flashing out in front of the house.”
Here we go again, I thought.
We hustled to the front door and could see that there was a big fire truck right in front of our home – but there was a Paramedics Van parked in front of the house next door.
The back doors of the van were open and they were pulling out the empty gurney. They proceeded to roll it up the sidewalk and into the open front door of our neighbor’s home.
It was at this point that both of us became uncomfortable standing and watching this story unfold.
When you see a scene like this it is obvious that something has happened within a family – something sad, something private. They don’t need us standing on the sidelines, gawking.
For a guy who has spent most of his life acting the fool on one stage or another, I am a very private person. I used to be painfully shy and under some circumstances I still am. But the night the Paramedics walked into the house next door, standing and watching, without being able to do anything, made me feel like an intruder. I saw one of the firefighters look over at us, standing there in the cold, and I blushed. In my mind he was telling us to go back inside. I’m sure he wasn’t doing that, but I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had.
Dawn and I are very much alike in many ways, but one comes to mind.
When I’m not feeling well, if I’m down with a cold or my ancient carcass is hurting, I pull in my oars. I want nothing more than to wrap myself in a blanket and to be left alone. That’s how those rumors about me being a curmudgeon got started. If I’m not feeling well I am not a social being. Dawn is like that too, but to a lesser degree.
If it had been me that was going to be leaving on that gurney from the neighbor’s house I would not want to see the people next door out on their front steps looking on.
Let me be ill in private. Turn off all the flashing lights. Send everybody home. Leave me alone.
We went back inside and returned to our movie. I’m glad that we did. I think that we showed our neighbors some respect that night and I hope that, if and when the circumstances are reversed, they will do the same for us.
We haven’t heard a word about what happened that night, but after these several days, I haven’t seen anyone at their house. I haven’t seen the dogs. I fear that something has gone terribly wrong.
We offer up a prayer that they all find some peace and joy this Holiday Season.