A discouraging way for 2021 to end
I was sound asleep this afternoon, trying to get in a good, long nap so there might be some hope of actually staying up until midnight. I was mildly aware of the dogs being restless, the sound of diesel-fueled trucks in the neighborhood, but that’s not uncommon around here so I ignored it. Then, there was a knock at the back door. That is extremely uncommon. Our yard stays locked down because of the dogs. To knock on our door means jumping the fence.
“Get out! The house is on fire!” the boy yelled.
I jumped up and ran to the door.
“Get everyone out!” he said. “The house next door is on fire!”
I quickly turned around and yelled at the kids. “Out the door! Now! The house is on fire!” I grabbed the dogs and tossed them in the van. We quickly exited and pulled across the street. At that point, I wasn’t sure but what it might be our house that was on fire. It was a risk I couldn’t take.
Only once I was sure that our house was reasonably safe did I run back in and grab things like the kids’ shoes. I stood on the corner with all our neighbors watching the flames fully engulf the house, one that was largely a carbon copy of ours. At least three, possibly four fire units from both Indianapolis Fire Department and the Speedway Fire Department had responded. The streets were full of fire trucks and hoses and what seemed like 50 firefighters.
For the first time ever, my camera had not been among the things I thought to grab. I thought about it, but it didn’t seem as important this time. I caught a couple of pictures with my phone, and waited, trying to keep the dogs calm and answer the kids’ questions.
Only after the fire was mostly out and the kids and dogs safely back inside did I grab the camera and take a few pictures. Somehow, this seems a fitting ending to my year in so many ways.
As I’m standing there with my camera, my phone buzzed. Betty White had died.
Fuck this. If this is how 2022 is going to come in, we’d best brace ourselves for the toughest year yet.
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