Saturday, December 4, 2010

Somethin's Burnin

"Lots of things are rare in Cicely. Boxed lunches, public transportation, victimless crimes. It doesn't mean they don't exist."
- Joel to Ed, Northern Exposure

Protecting and Serving
Sally (Connie's dog) and I were trucking across the tundra the other day, when we witnessed Bob (one of our wonderful maintenance men) speeding (at least 40 mph) down the road in the school truck. Luckily Carl one of our Village Police Officers happened to be buzzing down the road on his 'honda' at the same time. He too noticed the 20+mph over the posted speed limit Bob was pushing. He quickly gestured the local equivalent of flashing their lights as a warning...standing up on his honda he raised his hands motioning 'slow down' 3 or 4 times as Bob blew by him, Dale Earnhart style. I wondered aloud to Sal if Bob might later be served a ticket or if Principal Eric might confiscate his keys. We rounded the corner toward the school to find an unusual number of staff out on the steps peering down the road in the same direction Bob had zoomed. Surely they'd seen his Nascar debut too??? "Hey!" Principal Eric shouted to me, "Did you see the fire?" "What fire?" I was confused. "There's a house on fire somewhere." Tim (Teacher of the Year) reported "Bob just went to help put it out." Hum, guess Speed Racer Bob will be served a medal instead of a ticket.

Shed On Fire
Sure enough, word had thankfully spread faster than the flames. After scaling the bus (aside: which I got stuck earlier this week in the snow drift that formed in front of the school) I realized there was a coat of ice all over the windshield which would obviously take a good 15 minutes to defrost a hole big enough for me to see the house on fire through (I can't reach the windshield with the scraper) so I improvised rolling down the driver's side window and slowly navigating the 3/4 mile stretch to teacher housing, all the while praying it wasn't my house on fire and taking rubber necking to a whole new level. It seemed that one of our local young-ins had been disobeying Smokey's advice not to play with matches and had lit the neighbor's little shed behind my house on fire. By the time I crept past with the magic school bus, head hangin out the window like it was a scorching July day, there was no fire left and my cheeks were frostbitten.

Stove On Fire
So later in the week I was making some soup and had fried some bacon. "Always save the grease," Dr. O ordered, "Ani should get all the fat he can." It's Ani's lil treat. Obediently I had poured the bacon grease in a tin bowl and was letting it cool. Stupidly however, I was letting it cool on the stove where I was also boiling water to make Justin and Albert some hot chocolate (they stopped to visit). While removing the whistling tea pot, I bumped the cooling bowl spilling the grease all over the stove and more dangerously, directly toward the hot burner. It was slow motion as I turned to see the grease making it's way to the searing burner. "Outa my way!" I screeched pushing past the boys, yanking a towel from the drawer and leaping toward the ticking bomb! "Ahhhh! Watch out! Get back! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!" I attempted to sop up the oily mess with the dry towel but not before the red burner and the bacon grease met instantly igniting! Blot, blot, tap, mop, I kept snapping at the flames as they appeared, until...yep, you guessed it, my greased soaked towel caught on fire too. "Ahhhh!" I flung it into the sink. Somehow, miraculously, rather mercifully...Thank the Lord, this potential 'real' house fire went out. I turned to the boys whose eyes were as big as saucers. "How did you know it was going to catch on fire?" they asked completely shocked at the episode that had just unfolded or exploded before them. "It's grease guys." I pointed out. "That's what grease does. Now who wants hot chocolate?" A good life lesson was had by all then we agreed it was also a good thing Bob could drive like Dale Earnhardt when needed.

Snow Brought to You by Blizzard!
Planes had been grounded for days. Nobody coming or going. No new mail, no new food at the store but lots and lots of new snow. Just the right kind we needed to bust out our school's cross country skis for the first time this year. At least that's what Jenny and Lonnie thought when they knocked on my door this morning while it was still dark out "Can we ski?" "Ski??" I mumbled rubbing my eyes to make sure I was seeing these two early birds correctly. "You girls, it's still dark out." I whined, "I was sleeping." Undeterred they looked past me, "Well, um, sorry can we come in? There's lots of snow! We can ski now!....Can we ski?" "Yeah, yeah." I submitted stepping aside so they could stomp the snow off and come on in, "The skis are at the school though, so you have to wait for me to wake up and get ready." "Okay!" they cheered immediately getting to the business of entertaining themselves while I bumbled around with the coffee pot and appropriate attire. So what began with two of them skiing turned into ten of them skiing and some of those little die hards even skied into the evening. I have to smile. I love skiing too. Were it not for one of my own teachers during elementary school providing the opportunity for me long ago I wouldn't have been able to be dragged out of my toasty warm bed this morning to gear them up today. Oh, the ripple effect:)

"Then everyone will know that I, the LORD, started the fire. It will never be put out." Ezekiel 20:48


  1. Hey Kid, Sounds like you are wearing many different hats this time of year! I just want to wish you an early Merry Christmas and as I know you know, Jesus is the reason for the season!! Please send me your address via our e-mail so we can send you a card and think about this, possibly set up some pen pals with your students and some of the students I work with at CLICK (after school program I work at). Blessings!!!

  2. Yes Joe that sounds like a fabulous idea I'll send the infor your way.