Gene and I were mowing over the weekend, with headphones in place and music playing, when I noticed that Gene had stopped his mower and was looking over his shoulder. Being the paranoid person that I am, I stopped and looked around as well. I had no idea what caught his attention, but it reminded me of a post I wrote a year after we moved out to our acreage. I’ve pasted it below for your enjoyment.
There are many advantages to living on a hill. To begin with, there is always a breeze. Secondly, with the height advantage, you can watch thunderstorms rolling in with plenty of time to hit the basement. And a few years ago, I learned that you can also see fire trucks approaching your house for a good mile before they get there.
On a beautiful fall day, Gene and I decided to get the mowing done. Mowing is a 2.5 hour job, so taking advantage of a beautiful day is a perk. We both had our headphones on, and had Dolly Dog in the house like good, safety conscious pet owners should. We were about two hours into mowing when I glanced up and saw someone turning into our drive. Our driveway is half a mile long, so we don’t get a lot of traffic on it. I paused a moment, and then discounted the red pickup truck as a neighboring farmer taking a shortcut to check on his hay bales. Then I noticed a long line of fire trucks with their lights on approaching our drive, slowing, and turning in as well. My heart stopped. I thought the fire alarms in the house had gone off and we couldn’t hear anything because we had noise cancelling headphones on. I further speculated that the security company had tried to reach us and called the fire department when we didn’t answer.
My first thought was to race across the lawn to Gene and warn him. I knew that he could not see the drive from where he was mowing and would be startled when a long line of fire trucks rounded the curve and came into his view. And I was frantic to get to the house and save Dolly dog. So I started waiving my arms at Gene and racing my mower across the yard to get his attention just as the first truck topped the hill. I pointed frantically at the truck, then turned and raced my mower up to the house. I threw my mower into park and ran to save Dolly. In retrospect, I know you should never enter a burning building, but I was willing to take a chance in order to save Dolly the Wonder Dog. (I can hear some of you who know me wondering, and no, I did not grab my computer!)
When I got into the house, I didn’t hear an alarm or see any signs of fire, but I wasn’t taking any chances, I scooped and ran out the door with a startled dog in my arms. Gene was standing calmly next to the drive talking with a fire fighter when I came barreling out of the house like the hounds of hell were on my heels. Two calm men (Gene and the Fire Fighter) sat watching the burst of activity and seemed confused by my panic. It turns out that the fire department was looking for a combine that was on fire nearby and they didn’t have clear directions. Dolly was busy doing her “someone is here” dance on the drive as I leaned over my knees gasping air and trying to get my heart rate to slow down.
Once my heart stopped racing, I explained to Gene what I thought was happening and told him that I had my priorities right: Save the Bread Winner (Gene) first, then Man’s Best Friend. I spent the evening pointing out to Dolly that I was willing to run into fire to save her. She didn’t seem too impressed. And Gene just kept laughing and wheezing as he said, “You came flying out that door like a crazy person.”