Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Night and Day: Fire and Ice

Like a symbol of this schizophrenic, volatile world were these last couple of days. One moment you are warm and cozy, calm and protected, easing down toward the hours of sleep, and the next you are reminded there is no safety and security here.

I was in the hall and the rest were looking at TV, but then my daughter was asking, "Why are there firetrucks out front?"

"Of our house?" I asked.

"No, along Glenrock."

That is the street below us into which ours feeds. Sure enough, there were firetrucks on Glenrock, many, many firetrucks, all down around the corner as far as I could see between the houses.

They had snuck upon us. There had been no sirens blaring. My daughter heard something of a hiss and looked out and there they were. We had no idea why. We could see no fire along Glenrock, but straining against the night above and the glare below, it did appear there was smoke billowing from behind the house directly across from our street's entrance.

This was about 10:00. The last truck left sometime between 11:30 and midnight. The firehouse tweeted a fire at 107 Woodgreen, no other information except a photo of the house with flames shooting from every window.  The only other comment came from the News Journal Online's list of fire calls. It listed a home fire, electrical, but gave the address as 127 Woodgreen. Typing error or two fires going?

Typing error as it turned out.

We've had two other big fires in this area over the Christmas period, each in apartment complexes leaving several families displaced for the holidays. These were so close in time and near in distance my wife feared an arsonist. The one was ruled accidental, someone using their stove as a heater. The other, however, the one that burned 20 apartments -- maybe. One person died in that fire, a women, and her death was ruled suspicious. I have not heard anything further.

Fires are scary things. A little innocent spark can take away everything you have. We had a fire here a
few years back in 2010.  My wife and I were out to dinner and when we came home our sofa was sitting in the front yard and two lamps were by the driveway. It was dark and I saw the two lamps, because they were near my car when I got out. My first reaction was someone was dumping their trash at my place. The sofa was behind a bush and I didn't even notice it. When we entered the home was when I realized the sofa was missing from the living room.

My daughter, Laurel, was shook up for she had been there, which was fortunate. She was reading and smelled something. An electrical cord had gone rogue and somehow ignited the sofa with a slow burn. She called 911 and the firemen came and toted the flaming couch outside. They also turned off the circuit breaker in the shed. The only damage was a hole burnt in the carpet, the two lamps and sofa, of
course, and the jam on the storage shed the firemen ripped open with a crowbar. My daughter didn't know the keys to the shed locks were hanging on the kitchen wall near the backdoor. Oh well, could have been worse. If laurel had not been home we probably wouldn't have had a home to come back to.

We other daughter, Noelle, baked us a flaming sofa cake for our wedding anniversary.

We were much more fortunate than the people at 107 Woodgreen on Monday night. Their place appears to have suffered a good deal of damage.

The day after the fiery night, December 6, last of the twelve days of Christmas, it snowed. The temperatures had been mild so far, even warm on Christmas Eve, but that was about to change. It was 19 degrees out when I woke on Tuesday.

I had been scheduled to visit a friend, my Pastor actually, that morning, but we had cancelled the night before because of the threat of bad weather. I didn't think this storm would amount to much, but decided to err on the side of caution. I was glad I did. It began snowing sometime before dawn and continued until well into the afternoon. It did not lay down a two-foot mess as the storms did last winter, leaving behind only about three inches at my place (although the weather-people kept claiming there was but an inch.) Apparently depth doesn't matter; it's how it lay, which was as slippery as can be.  There were quite a number of accidents on the roadways during the day.

I choose not to drive anywhere, probably also a good thing. I did decide to take a walk and as I left a person came struggling to drive their SUV up our street that is a hill. He was just pass my driveway in the middle of the road with his wheels spinning gleefully in rebellion against further progress. This has been a winter sport for us since we moved here 32+ years ago; watching the many who believe they can conquer our hill in winter snows. Many try and many fail and nobody ever learns to bypass our street for the next where the climb is easier.

As my faithful readers already know I take a four to five mile hike every morning. Sometimes this is interfered with, but not often. I hike in all kinds of weather, rain, snow, hail, sleet as well as the blazing, humid days of summer.  On occasion the rain is too heavy or the snow too deep, but these are rare. Usually the morning finds me in one of North Delaware's wonderful parks, but as I said, this snowy morn I choose not to use the car. I decided to walk in my neighborhood.

I use to walk through the neighborhood every night years ago and twice on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays. For many of those walks I had a yellow Lab accompanying me, but Tucker died in 2009 at the age of 18, so since then my walks have been alone. They have also been in the parks and not through the neighborhood.

I set off down the hill, then up Woodgreen to view the house that burned. From there I crossed a footbridge above I-95 into the back of the old high school.

The snow was falling steadily. It was those small flakes and very powdery. It was already laying well, but it wasn't the kind that packed easily. It wasn't conducive of building snowmen along the way.

I love to walk in snowstorms. It is invigorating. Yesterday was January 6, the twelfth day of Christmas and the scene in Claymont was Christmasy indeed.

Except it led to this:

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